Saturday, December 31, 2011

Little Smokies Appetizers

No party would be complete without this great appetizer.

  • 1 (18 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 (16 ounce) packages little wieners

  1. Stir together barbecue sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, onion, and wieners in the bowl of a slow cooker.
  2. Cook on LOW for 2 hours, or until ready to serve.

  • Serves 16.
  • Use a spicy barbeque sauce if you want to add a little heat.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Jack Allen's Kitchen is Serving New Years Day Brunch - Austin, Texas

For more information, click here to visit their website.

2nd Annual New York New Year's Eve Party - Salado, Texas

Saturday, December 31, 2011, from 7PM-11PM
Salado Creek Winery & Vineyard
227 North Main Street
Salado, Texas 76571

This event sold out last year!  Act quickly to make sure you get a ticket!
For the second year, we are offering an invitation only New Year's Eve celebration unlike any Salado has ever seen!
We will be ringing in the New Year on New York time... so at 12:00 EST (11:00 CST) we will celebrate.  Why celebrate at the same time New York does?  Simple... as a winery, our permit requires that we be closed by 12:00 midnight.  Therefore, we'll just reset our clocks to eastern seaboard time, and celebrate with the east coast!
One flat $40 fee gets you in the door, and includes live music entertainment provided by Dimlit Daylight, food all evening long, two drink tickets, party favors and free champagne when the ball drops!
Salado Creek Wine Club Members get first crack at these tickets... we are only selling a limited number so get yours quickly as they will go fast.
Cost:  $40 per person, $75 per couple.  Tickets available for purchase at the winery or over the phone at (254) 947-9000.
Time:  7:00 - 11:00PM

Attire: Festive!

For more information, click here to visit their website.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Trifecta New Years Eve Party - Austin, Texas

Saturday, December 31st, at 7:00p
Trifecta on 3rd
360 Nueces St.
Austin, TX 78701

Celebrate New Years Eve at Trifecta on 3rd in downtown Austin. Table Reservations available for $400, which include three course dinner for 4, select bottle of your choice, champaign toast at midnight, and party favors. Larger tables available upon request.

To make a reservation or for information, call Lauren @ 512-789-5023 or email

Only a few tables remaining as of Wednesday so call soon.

Click here to visit their website.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Curried Popcorn

Want to spice up your New Year's Eve party? Try this spicy alternative to buttered popcorn.

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 dashes hot sauce
  • 1 gallon popped popcorn

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir in the garlic, turmeric, curry powder, and cumin; keep over heat 1 minute.
  2. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1 minute more.
  3. Add the hot sauce and pour over the popcorn. Serve immediately.

  • Makes 1 gallon of popcorn.

Quick and Easy Cherry Cobbler

  • 1 stick butter (1/2 c. butter)
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 2 cans cherry pie filling

  1. Melt butter in 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan.
  2. Mix sugar, flour, salt, baking powder and milk - will be thin.
  3. Pour over melted butter.
  4. Top with cherry pie filling. Do not mix.
  5. Bake at 325 to 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or brown.

  • Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's Eve Winemaker Dinner and Ballroom Extravaganza - Greenville, Texas

Saturday, December 31, 2011 from 6:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Landon Winery - Greenville, TX
2508 Lee St.
Greenville, TX 75401

Landon Winery is offering a unique way to ring out 2011 and ring in the new year~

WHAT: Winemaker Dinner and Ballroom Celebration
WHEN: December 31, 2011
TIME: 6:00 PM Passed Hors d'oeuvres in the Ballroom
6:30 PM Seating for dinner
8:30 PM Reception Party Opens
WHERE: Landon Winery in Downtown Greenville
2508 Lee Street, Greenville, TX 75414

Landon Winery is hosting a Winemaker Dinner with select wine pairings by Bob Landon. The dinner is the first part of our New Year's Eve Dinner Package and is followed by tickets to our Ballroom Extravaganza.

Enjoy an exquisite dinner with wonderful wines. Following the last course, watch as we transform the Ballroom into 'Celebration Station' complete with live music by Sylvan Shine, dancing, and party favors.

New Years Eve Menu

Smoked Salmon Canapes
Served as passed hors d`oeuvres

Bistro Ceviche Appetizer
Served in the traditional custom with fresh squid and shrimp

Caesar Salad
Topped with croutons and freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Prime Rib
Served with Rosemary Mashed Potatoes and bacon wrapped green beans

Assorted Dessert and Coffee Buffet

Cheese and Cracker 'Munchies' Buffet Available After Dinner

Party Package option is available without dinner. Price includes wine, hors d'oeuvres, party favors and DJ in the Ballroom.

Hotel discount and shuttle option are available with the Dinner Package OR the Party Package.

Seating for dinner is limited. This is your chance to be a part of another fun Landon Winery New Year's Eve Celebration.

Winemaker Dinner Package: $130 / $115 Member Price

Price is per person and includes Dinner with wine pairings, entrance to party with live music, dancing, wine, hors d'oeuvres, party favors, and $25 toward tax and gratuity!

Party Package: $69 / $59 Member Price

Price is per person and includes entrance to the party after 8:30pm. Live music, dancing, wine, hors d'oeuvres, party favors, and $16 toward tax and gratuity!

NOTE: Special rates at the Hampton Inn in Greenville are available for Landon Winery Party Patrons. Please contact the hotel direct for reservations. Please call to make your reservation and you must mention Landon Winery New Year's Eve Celebration to receive the special rate. Shuttle will be provided for those with confirmed reservations only at The Hampton Inn & Suites.

Please contact Landon Winery, 972-542-3030, with any questions, pricing and registration available online at

Visit Website: Landon Winery

Texas Wine School Absolute Beginners: Wines of France in 3 sessions - Houston, Texas

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 from 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
The Texas Wine School at French Country Wines
2433 Bartlett Street
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 882-8773

Absolute Beginners: Wines of France in 3 Sessions

Cost: $180.00 incl. wine
Dates: Tuesday January 10th, 17th and 24th.
Time: 7.00pm-9.30pm
Location: French Country Wines, 2433 Bartlett Street, Houston, TX 77098
Instructor: James King

This 3 session (2.5hrs each) course will cover the basics of French Wine.

Generally, we will be looking at:

1. For each wine-producing region, describe the style of wines made, identify the key grape varieties used for wine production and the meaning of common regional labeling terms.

2. Describe the meaning of common labeling terms indicating quality or style.

3. Understand what grape varieties are connected to each AOC so that you can pick a wine in a restaurant or retailer with confidence, for example Sauvignon Blanc – Sancerre.

We will cover all the main regions (giving more time to Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne):

1. Alsace: Learn the labeling of wines, the main grape varietiesthe diversity of soil types and wine styles.   We will explain the difference between a Vendanges Tardives and a Sélection de Grains Nobles?

 2. Bordeaux: Learn the different grapes, the connection to soil, the styles and the diversity that is Bordeaux.  Learn how to read the label and decipher its grapes, quality and classification.

 3. Beaujolais:  Learn the labeling of wines, the main grape variety, differences between Beaujolais, Nouveau, Villages and Cru Village. Learn how carbonic maceration and traditional fermentation changes the flavors in the glass.

 4. Burgundy: Learn the labeling of wines and the main grape varieties. Learn how soil, topography and climate create enough variability to craft 100 different AOCs within this region’s borders!

 5. Champagne: Learn the champagne process and the grape varieties and styles that it produces. Learn why Champagne is unique among the world’s sparkling wine producing regions and why it has become the worldclass luxury good that it is.

 6. Loire Valley: Learn about the diversity of grapes, styles and labels that come out of the “Garden of France”.  Discover one grape that can make dry to sweet styles and also bubbles!! Find the home of Sauvignon Blanc and the “parents” of Cabernet Sauvignon.

 7. Southern France: Learn about some of the oldest vineyards in France. Briefly look at some of the sub regions that are making their presence felt in the US Market.

 8. Rhône Valley:  Learn about the two halves of the Rhône River, the North and the South. Learn the different grapes, styles and labeling and the diversity of AOC’s.

Visit Website: The Texas Wine School

Monday, December 26, 2011

Brunch on the 26th! New Year's Eve Menu! - Bistrot Mirabelle

Monday, December 26th we are serving brunch 10am-3pm and dinner 3pm-10pm
Happy hour served 3-6:30pm!

New Year's Eve we will be open for brunch 10am-3pm and then dinner until midnight!  
We will have entertainment and a champagne toast at midnight!  In addition to our full dinner menu, we will also have the following specials:
Blue Point Oysters
A half dozen Blue Point Oysters served on the half shell with champagne granita
Salade Lyonnaise
Frisee & endive tossed with sherry vinaigrette, pork & pistachio sausage, & potatoes
Grilled Ahi Tuna
Served with sauce piperade, roasted fingerling potatoes & fumet butter
Grilled Ribeye 
A 14oz grilled ribeye served with bleu cheese gratin & sauce bordelaise
Banana Tart Tatin
With caramel rum sauce

New Year's Day we will be open 10am-3pm for brunch

Make your reservation online or call us at 512-346-7900

Merci Beaucoup!

Brian, Chef Clinton, and the staff of Bistrot Mirabelle

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Breakfast Casserole

Here is a great recipe for a breakfast casserole.

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 pinch dried parsley
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

  1. Place bacon in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain and set aside. Add the mushrooms and onion to the skillet; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent and the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish with the tablespoon of butter. Place potatoes in bottom of prepared dish. Sprinkle with salt, garlic salt, and pepper. Top with crumbled bacon, then add the onions and mushrooms.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and parsley. Pour the beaten eggs over the casserole and top with grated cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until set.

  • Makes 4-6 servings.
  • Instead of bacon, you can use sausage. I like to use a spicy sausage.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Grilled Marinated Chuck Roast

One of my favorite ways to serve chuck roast is to marinate it and then grill it. It takes about 35-45 minutes to cook the roast, but I think you will be really pleased with the flavor.

  • 1 (3 lb.) chuck roast (1 1/2 to 2 inches thick)
  • 1 teaspoon Accent (optional)
  • 1/3 cup wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  1. Sprinkle both sides of roast with Accent or use another method for tenderizing the meat. See note below.
  2. Place roast in shallow baking dish.
  3. Thoroughly combine ingredients. Pour mixture over roast and marinate 2 to 3 hours turning twice.
  4. Place meat on grill about 6 inches from heat. Turn and baste with remaining sauce mixture every 10 to 15 minutes. Grill over medium coals 35 to 45 minutes for medium rare roast.

  • If you are sensitive to MSG, I would recommend not using Accent. I do recommend using a method for tenderizing the meat. I use a Jaccard meat tenderizer. It has multiple blades that will tenderize the meat to perfection.
  • Makes 6-8 servings. Serve with mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.

Jaccard Meat Tenderizer

Friday, December 23, 2011

Strangetribe presents parkside Parkside New Year's Eve 2012

Saturday, December 31, 2011 at 10:00 PM - Sunday, January 1, 2012 at 2:00 AM (CT)
Austin, TX

Strangetribe Productions & Downstairs Apparel Present:
Parkside New Year's Eve 2012
DJ sets by:
DJ Resinthol
DJ Jah Mighty
DJ Mahealani
MC Tigre Liu
Percussionist El Cocinero
Open Bar
Champagne Toast
Hors d'oeuvres & sweets by Chef Shawn Cirkiel
Photo Booth
$100 per person

parkside 301 e. 6th street Austin, TX 78701

Celebrate New Years Eve with parkside with a Wonderful 4 Course Meal

Parkside Four Course Prix Fixe New Year Eve Menu

course 1
sweetbreads, blue prawns, fennel, potatoes, tomato, celery, roasted shrimp jus
raviolo, farm egg, foraged mushrooms, truffle butter, shaved vegetables
goose pastrami, pickled kohlrabi, mustard leaves, purple dijonaise, caraway tuile
raw fluke, pickled persimmon, lemongrass, jalapeno, lime

course 2
wild mushroom broth, celeriac flan, baby carrot, fried negi onion
potato tart, citrus chive crème fraiche, pickled onion, caper berry, caviar, watercress
avocado ‘carpaccio’, hearts of palm, citrus, baby vegetables, micro greens
heirloom carrot salad, goat curd, fennel, cumin, celery seed, masala vinaigrette

course 3
beef duo, mascarpone polenta, grilled boletus, candied hedgehog mushrooms
lamb loin, parnsnip puree, pear, apple, charred sprouts, baby root vegetables
arctic char, pancetta, warm potato salad, braised celery, crisp onion, red wine sauce
dorade, pistachios, cauliflower fonduta, golden raisins, butter crouton, fontina lace
‘house tofu’, miso broth, braised root vegetables, black garlic, shiso chili oil, taro chips

family style sides
braised greens
black eyed peas

course 4
chocolate beignets, kabocha squash custard, candied pecans,
chocolate paint, brown butter soil, bourbon pecan ice cream
citrus green tea mousse, yuzu foam, green tea cake, blackberry preserves,
dried apricot, mirin gel, yuzu curd, jasmine rice glass, micro shiso
texas apple terrine, cinnamon creme fraiche, calvados caramel,
raisins, piloncillo crumble, toasted barley ice cream
coconut kaffir lime semifreddo, poached pineapple, basil seeds,
mint almond soil, ginger chips, mango gel, passion fruit sorbet

$60 per person
$35 wine pairing
$28 oyster platters

Thursday, December 22, 2011

White Castle Considers Beer and Wine

The 90-year-old hamburger chain known for their square sliders is considering whether or not to offer beer and wine as part of their menu.

Currently, the chain is testing the concept in one of their location in Lafayette, Indiana. Wine costs $4.50 and beers start at $3.

White Castle has not made its official decision on whether or not to sell beer and wine at all of their locations.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Carols & Wine Tasting - Flower Mound, Texas

Friday, Dec.23rd - 6PM to 8PM
6100 Long Prairie Road Suite 400
Flower Mound, TX 75028

Remember past holiday seasons when we all bundled up in caps and scarves and sang Christmas carols up and down our neighborhoods? Well this year there is no need to put on the mittens, the only thing you need in your hand, on this festive night, is a glass of wine! Sing along, or just simply enjoy, live holiday songs from musical duo Varian Reynolds while enjoying a wide selection of wine, beer, cheese, olive oil, and vinegar.

For more information, click here to visit their website.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Year’s Eve Events at Messina Hof - Bryan, Texas

Messina Hof 
Saturday, December 31, 2011 (Sat) from 8:30 PM - 12:00 AM
Bryan, TX

New Year’s Eve Events at Messina Hof
New Year’s Eve Menu at the Vintage House Restaurant
Saturday, December 31st – 6:00pm
Join us for a delicious three-course menu to start off the New Year!

each course is served with a glass of wine from one of the wine recommendations
Sauvignon Blanc Caramel Apply Butternut Squash.
Served with Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio

Baby field greens tossed together with dried cranberries, candied Texas pecans, Gorgonzola cheese and Messina Hof Sparkling Wine Vinaigrette.
Served with Brut Sparkling or Raspberry Sparkling

Entrees (select one of the following)
Port Raspberry Balsamic Glazed Quail
Grilled Quail glazed with Raspberry Balsamic Glaze infused with Messina Hof Ebony Ports of Call, served with chili cheese grits and sweet glazed carrots.
Served with Private Reserve Chardonnay or Private Reserve Semillon
Grilled Salmon
Grilled Salmon topped with a classic dill beurre blanc sauce, served with a bouquet of asparagus and lemon cilantro rice.
Served with Private Reserve Pinot Noir or Reflections of Love 2009

Grilled Petit Filet of Beef
6 oz. Grilled Filet of Beef topped with a Port Wine Reduction Mushroom Demi-glace, served with basil chive mashed potatoes and a fresh vegetable medley.
Served with Private Reserve Pinot Noir or Reflections of Love 2009

Served with Ivory Ports of Call, Mistella Glory Late Harvest or Private Reserve Port 2005

$69.99 per person plus tax and gratuity


New Year’s Eve Dinner & Event
Saturday, December 31st - 8:30pm -12:30am

Dine first in the Vintage House Restaurant on a delicious menu prepared by our Vintage House Chef. After dinner, then join us for an evening of casino games, fabulous wine, dancing, dessert bar & Champagne Toast!

each course is served with a glass of wine from one of the wine recommendations
Sauvignon Blanc Caramel Apply Butternut Squash.
Served with Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio

Baby field greens tossed together with dried cranberries, candied Texas pecans, Gorgonzola cheese and Messina Hof Sparkling Wine Vinaigrette.
Served with Brut Sparkling or Raspberry Sparkling

Entrees (select one of the following)
Port Raspberry Balsamic Glazed Quail
Grilled Quail glazed with Raspberry Balsamic Glaze infused with Messina Hof Ebony Ports of Call, served with chili cheese grits and sweet glazed carrots.
Served with Private Reserve Chardonnay or Private Reserve Semillon
Grilled Salmon
Grilled Salmon topped with a classic dill beurre blanc sauce, served with a bouquet of asparagus and lemon cilantro rice.
Served with Private Reserve Pinot Noir or Reflections of Love 2009

Grilled Petit Filet of Beef
6 oz. Grilled Filet of Beef topped with a Port Wine Reduction Mushroom Demi-glace, served with basil chive mashed potatoes and a fresh vegetable medley.
Served with Private Reserve Pinot Noir or Reflections of Love 2009

Served with Ivory Ports of Call, Mistella Glory Late Harvest or Private Reserve Port 2005

$89.99 per person plus tax and gratuity

Or just join us for the evening activities starting at 9pm-12:30am, it’s just $49.99 per person plus tax and gratuity.

New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Wine Bar – 80’s Theme
Saturday, December 31st    8:30pm – 12:30am

We're headed "Back to the Future" for this fantastic 80's-themed party ...
Let's go back to the days of metal bands and big hair. Find some leg warmers, muscle shirts, or leggings to wear.

Join us for an evening of totally gnarly music, wicked awesome wine & food, champagne toast and more!
Just $29.99 per person plus tax and gratuity!

For more information and reservations, click here to visit their website.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Puff Pastry Apple Tart

During the fall, we have a huge abundance of apples and varieties to choose from. This apple tart recipe is very simple and delicious.

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thaw according to directions
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple jelly, melted

  1. Unfold pastry and place on lightly floured board. Roll out evenly to make a bit thinner.
  2. Cut 3/4" strip off each long side. Place rectangle on an ungreased baking sheet. Prick evenly with fork. Brush long sides with water. "Paste" on strips along each long edge.
  3. Peel apples. Cut in half lengthwise and cut out stem and core. Place apples flat side down on board and cut across into paper thin slices.
  4. Arrange slices in overlapping rows on tart shell. Sprinkle with sugar and bake 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and apples tender.
  5. Brush warm melted apple jelly on warm tart. Serve warm with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
  • Makes 4 servings.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bistro Mirabelle Prepares Grilled Salmon with Gribiche

My friends at Bistro Mirabelle prepared a wonderful dish from their menu, Grilled Salmon with Gribiche, on the KXAN morning show.

Visit their website by clicking here.

Or better yet, head over to this wonderful restaurant. You will be glad you did.

Bistrot Mirabelle
8127 Mesa Drive #A100
Austin, Texas 78759
(512) 346-7900

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Beef Stroganoff

One of my favorite hearty meals during the winter season is beef stroganoff. It is one of those dishes that sticks to your ribs. Your family will love this.

  • 2 pounds beef chuck roast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 4 green onions, sliced (white parts only)
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 (6 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste

  1. Remove any fat and gristle from the roast and cut into strips 1/2 inch thick by 2 inches long. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of both salt and pepper.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and brown the beef strips quickly, then push the beef strips off to one side. Add the onions and cook slowly for 3 to 5 minutes, then push to the side with the beef strips.
  3. Stir the flour into the juices on the empty side of the pan. Pour in beef broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and stir in mustard. Cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
  4. Five minutes before serving, stir in the mushrooms, sour cream, and white wine. Heat briefly then salt and pepper to taste.

  • Makes 6 to 8 servings

Barbecue Brisket Using a Slow Cooker

Although this cooking method will not have quite the same taste as a slow-cooked brisket in a smoker, it will taste great and very tender.

  • 5 1/2 pounds beef brisket
  • 1 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

  1. Combine all ingredients, coating the brisket well. Marinate overnight.
  2. Place brisket and marinade in in crock-pot on low for 9 to 10 hours.
  3. Slice into thin strips, across the grain and serve on rolls or buns.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Eggnog Smoothie

While you can still buy eggnog at the grocery store, you should try out this delicious smoothie recipe.

  • 2 cups eggnog
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/3 cup of 2% milk
  • 2 cups of ice
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cinnamon

Directions Blend until the banana is part of creamy texture.

New Year's Eve and More at Bistrot Mirabelle!

You asked for duck so we got duck!  Saturday's plat du jour is now Duck a L'Orange. Half a rotisserie chicken with orange sauce, served with roasted red potatoes and butternut squash puree.

Next week we will be open Monday through Friday as usual, and closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Monday, December 26th we will open at 10am for brunch!  
Make your reservation online or call us at 512-346-7900

New Year's Eve we will be open for brunch 10am-3pm and then dinner until midnight!  
We will have entertainment and a champagne toast at midnight!  In addition to our full dinner menu, we will also have the following specials:
Blue Point Oysters
A half dozen Blue Point Oysters served on the half shell with champagne granita
Salade Lyonnaise
Frisee & endive tossed with sherry vinaigrette, pork & pistachio sausage, & potatoes
Grilled Ahi Tuna
Served with sauce piperade, roasted fingerling potatoes & fumet butter
Grilled Ribeye 
A 14oz grilled ribeye served with bleu cheese gratin & sauce bordelaise
Banana Tart Tatin
With caramel rum sauce
New Year's Day we will be open 10am-3pm for brunch

Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio, 2010, $6.25/glass, $25/bottle
Saracina Sauvignon Blanc, 2008, $9.50/glass, $38/bottle
Candor Merlot, $7/glass, $28/bottle

Join us Tuesday, January 17, for a Bordeaux wine dinner!  More details coming soon!

Thank you all for helping to make our first holiday season a great one!  To celebrate with us, bring in a copy of this email for a free appetizer or dessert!

(Offer valid through Friday, December 23rd.  Limit one per table.)

Merci Beaucoup!

Brian, Chef Clinton, and the staff of Bistrot Mirabelle

SFC Farmers' Market Open Through All Holidays - Austin, Texas

Everyone during this time of year loves a festive cup of hot cocoa, music, and the chance to walk around and shop for unique and fun items created, or grown, by hand. The SFC Farmers' Market and Sunset Valley Artisan Market will remain open for the holidays to offer that opportunity to all over the next two weeks. The make up of the markets will be merged in the following dates/locations:

The Wednesday, December 21st SFC Farmers' Market at The Triangle will consist of a combination of Saturday farmers and vendors joining the regular mid-week farmers and vendors for an expanded "Holiday Farmers' Market" where farm goods, specialty value-added foods, and artisan gifts will abound. This special market is from 3 pm to 7 pm and there is ample parking in The Triangle parking garage as well as a flat lot next to the market.

December 24th, the SFC Downtown Market moves to Sunset Valley
/Toney Burger Center
SFC's Saturday markets will combine, along with the Sunset Valley Artisan Market, to form a doubly rich market on Christmas Eve Day for last minute shoppers. 9 am to 1 pm, as usual. Free admission and plenty of free parking at the Toney  Burger Center. Downtown market is closed this day.

December 31st, the SFC Farmers' Market at Sunset Valley moves
to Republic  Square Park
Again, Saturday markets combine to offer a grand variety of the best produce, value added items, prepped party foods, host/hostess gifts and more for last-minute shoppers organizing or going to New Year's Eve celebrations. Free admission and free parking at City Hall parking garage and in ½ of the lot next to the market thorough the market time, and at area meters (just until 11 am). Sunset  Valley market is closed this day.

The Sustainable Food Center Farmers' Market is a project of the Sustainable  Food Center, whose mission is to cultivate a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food. For more information about Sustainable  Food Center, go to and for more information on the market, go to

Vivo Lake Creek Kicks Off 2012 with New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball & New Brunch Service - Austin, Texas

Vivo Lake Creek Kicks Off 2012 with New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball & New Brunch Service:
New Year’s Eve Festivities to Include DJ, Dancing, Midnight Toast and Photo Booth

Vivo Lake Creek is encouraging Austinites to have a ball this New Year’s Eve. Northwest Austin’s favorite locale for elevated Tex-Mex fare, Vivo Lake Creek will host a New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball, complete with live music, dancing, plenty of bubbly and a special menu devised by celebrated Chef Paul Petersen.
Vivo’s Masquerade Ball runs from 10 p.m. New Year’s Eve through 2 a.m., Jan. 1, and will include a Champagne toast at midnight, designated dance floor space, live music from a local DJ beginning at 9 p.m., bottle service from Vivo’s elite serving staff and a special photo booth where guests can commemorate their holiday celebration. General admission to Vivo’s New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball is $50 per person, and reserved seating is $100 per person. Guests who make dinner reservations at Vivo Lake Creek for 8 or 8:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve may keep their table for the Masquerade Ball for only $50 per person.
Leading up to New Year’s Eve, Chef Petersen will delight Vivo diners with some new seasonal menu specials and holiday cocktails during the month of December. And come New Year’s Eve, guests can choose dinner dishes from the regular Vivo menu or from Chef Petersen’s specially prepared five-course menu featuring seasonal, New Year’s Eve-inspired cuisine such as caviar and lobster scrambled eggs atop fresh asparagus.
Chef Petersen has also been busy developing Vivo Lake Creek’s new Sunday brunch menu, which features many beloved Austin brunch favorites like Biscuits and Gravy, Huevos Rancheros, Shrimp Cocktail, Pablo’s Migas and Steak and Eggs. Chef Petersen’s Chicken and Waffles (a Texas-shaped waffle with cinnamon-spiced cream cheese, deep-fried fajita chicken and maple syrup), the El Sapo dish (cinnamon-spiced French toast with a poached egg in the middle, served with garlic breakfast potatoes) and the Steak Ranchero (a pan-seared rib eye with traditional ranchero sauce served with black beans and garlic breakfast potatoes) are certain to become new brunch favorites. A variety of soups, salads and fruit plates round out the brunch menu, and are included alongside a medley of alluring brunch cocktails, domestic and imported beers, and coffee beverages.       
Vivo Lake Creek is located in the Lake Creek Village Shopping Center in Northwest Austin and features a variety of San Antonio-style Tex-Mex cuisine, signature cocktails and a growing wine list, all served in a plush, inviting and sensual lounge environment. The restaurant will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Holiday hours are Mondays from 5 to 9 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight; and Sunday for brunch service from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for dinner service from 3 to 9 p.m. Happy hour is Monday and Tuesday from 5 p.m. to close and Wednesday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information about Vivo Lake Creek and the new brunch menu, or to make reservations for the New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball or New Year’s Eve dinner, call (512) 331-4660, or visit

parkside to Host New Year’s Eve Bash & One-of-a-K​ind Dining Engagement - Austin, Texas

parkside to Host New Year’s Eve Party and Special Dining Engagement:
Upstairs Event Features Live Music & Open Bar;
 Restaurant Serves Up Chef Cirkiel’s Prix Fixe Menu

parkside, Austin’s innovative Sixth Street gastro pub, is welcoming 2012 with a night of disco, boogie, funk, soul, hip hop and, of course, the most mouthwatering upscale dining experience downtown Austin has to offer. This New Year’s Eve, parkside is the place to be for partiers looking to ring in the new year with raucous flair, and for diners who desire to celebrate with a one-of-a-kind New Year’s Eve dinner prepared by renowned parkside Chef Shawn Cirkiel.
parkside’s New Year’s Eve party, presented by Strangetribe Productions and Downstairs Apparel, kicks off at the restaurant’s spacious upstairs event space on Dec. 31 at 10 p.m. Featuring musical performances from DJ Resinthol, DJ Jah Mighty, DJ Mahealani, MC Tigre Liu and percussionist El Cocinero, this 21-and-up party ($100 per person) will rock into next year, until 2 a.m. on Jan. 1. The party includes an open bar, a midnight Champagne toast, hors d’oeuvres and sweets prepared by Chef Cirkiel, and a special New Year’s Eve photo booth.
Downstairs, in the main parkside dinning room, guests will be treated to an upscale New Year’s Eve prix fixe menu ($60 per person) featuring four courses prepared by Chef Cirkiel. The first course offers a choice of sweetbreads and blue prawns served with fennel, potatoes, tomato, celery and roasted shrimp jus; handmade raviolo served with a farm egg, foraged mushrooms, rich truffle butter and shaved vegetables; goose pastrami served with pickled kohlrabi, mustard leaves, a purple dijonaise sauce and caraway tuile; or raw-prepared fluke served with pickled persimmons, lemongrass, jalapenos and lime.
Chef Cirkiel’s second course features a choice of wild mushroom broth served with a celeriac flan, baby carrots and fried Japanese negi onions; a sumptuous potato tart served with citrus-chive crème fraîche, pickled onions, caper berries, caviar and watercress; avocado “carpaccio” served with hearts of palm, citrus, baby vegetables and micro greens; or an heirloom carrot salad with goat curd, fennel, cumin, celery seed and a masala vinaigrette.             
The third course of Chef Cirkiel’s extravagant New Year’s Eve menu includes a choice of beef duo served with mascarpone polenta, grilled boletus mushrooms and candied hedgehog mushrooms; succulent lamb loin served with a parsnip puree, pears, apples, charred sprouts and baby root vegetables; a dish of arctic char with pancetta, a warm potato salad, braised celery, crisp onions and a red wine sauce; dorade, a prized Mediterranean fish, served with pistachios, cauliflower fonduta, golden raisins, butter croutons and fontina lace; or parkside’s house tofu served with miso broth, braised root vegetables, black garlic, shiso chili oil and taro chips. Family-style sides of braised greens and black-eyed peas also accompany the third course.
With the fourth course, Pastry Chef Steven Cak is serving up decadence, offering diners a choice of chocolate beignets with kabocha squash custard, candied pecans, chocolate paint, brown butter soil and bourbon pecan ice cream; citrus green-tea mousse with yuzu foam, green-tea cake, blackberry preserves, dried apricots, mirin gel, yuzu curd, jasmine rice glass and micro shiso; a good old fashioned Texas apple terrine served with cinnamon crème fraîche and calvados caramel; piloncillo crumble with toasted barley ice cream, puff sheets, bric tuile and caramel raisins; or a coconut kefir lime semifreddo served with poached pineapple, basil seeds, mint-almond soil, ginger chips, mango gel and passion fruit sorbet.
Diners may also add to their New Year’s Eve meal wine pairings chosen by parkside Sommelier Ashley Gaas for an additional $35, and begin their meal with parkside’s famous oyster platters for an additional $28.
 Tickets for parkside’s upstairs New Year’s Eve party are available at or at Downstairs Apparel, located at 3100 S. Congress Ave. Reservations are recommended for parkside’s prix fixe New Year’s Eve dinner, and can be made by calling the restaurant at (512) 474-9898  or purchased online at
parkside islocated in downtown Austin at 301 E. Sixth St. Valet parking available seven nights a week, including on New Year’s Eve. For more information about parkside and the New Year’s Eve party and prix fixe menu, call (512) 474-9898, or visit

Apple Orchard Punch

With all of the holiday parties, you might need a great punch recipe. Here is a wonderful non-alcoholic recipe that is sure to please.
  • 1 (32 fluid ounce) bottle apple juice, chilled
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can frozen cranberry juice concentrate
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 liters ginger ale
  • 1 apple
  1. In a large punch bowl, combine apple juice, cranberry juice concentrate and orange juice. Stir until dissolved, then slowly pour in the ginger ale.
  2. Thinly slice the apple vertically, forming whole apple slices. Float apple slices on top of punch.
  • You can use ice rings with frozen cranberries inside to float in the punch rather than apple slices.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spinach & Artichoke Cups

Here is a delightful appetizer that is bound to please a lot of people.

  • 24 won ton wrappers
  • 1 can  (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pkg.  (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup  grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red peppers
  • 2 cloves  garlic, minced

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place 1 won ton wrapper in each of 24 mini muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray, with edges of wrapper extending over top of cup. Bake 5 min. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients.
  3. Spoon artichoke mixture into won ton cups.
  4. Bake 12 to 14 min. or until filling is heated through and edges of cups are golden brown.

  • Won Ton wrappers are found in the produce section of your favorite supermarket.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mango-Banana Smoothie

If you enjoy great smoothies, here is a very simple and tasty recipe.

  • 1 mango - peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
  • 1 banana, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup vanilla nonfat yogurt

DirectionsPlace mango, banana, orange juice, and yogurt in a blender. Blend until smooth. Serve in clear glasses, and drink with a bendy straw!

NotesMakes 4 servings.

Sugar Cookie Icing

If you want to take your sugar cookies to the next level, here is a recipe for making a classic sugar cookie icing.

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • assorted food coloring

  1. In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
  2. Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush.

  • Makes enough icing for 1 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

William Chris Vineyards - Wine Tasting Techniques Class

Saturday, December 17th

Our wine tasting techniques classes are held on every Saturday and are taught by one of our wine makers. During the one hour class you will be taught the skills and techniques of tasting wine. Tailor made hors d' oeuvres are provided during the class to give some insight on how to make food pairing with wine. Cost of the class is $45.00 with classes for the novice and for the wine connoisseur.

For availability and appointments, email or call 830-998-7654.

William Chris Vineyards
10352 US Highway 290
Hye, Texas 78635

Click here to visit their website.

Port & Stilton Cheese Tasting - Becker Vineyards - Stonewall, Texas

Saturday, December 17th, from 10am to 6pm
Sunday, December 18th, from noon to 6pm

Becker Vineyards is hosting a complimentary tasting of their port paired with Stilton cheese as part of the Tasting/Holiday Wine Trail.

No reservation is required.

Becker Vineyard
464 Becker Farms Road
Stonewall, Texas 78671

To visit their website, click here.

New Wine Release from Solaro Estate Winery - Dripping Springs, Texas

Saturday, December 17, 2011, Special live music performance by Stuart Michael Burns.
After a long 27 months, resting in oak, Solaro’s limited production Red,  Bordorosso 27, is being released, in time for Christmas on Saturday,  December 17, 2011 at Solaro Estate winery.

Come out and enjoy some great Texas music and Texas Wine.

Solaro Estate Winery
13111 Silver Creek Rd. Dripping Springs TX

For more information, click here to visit their website.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sommelier Cinema: "Midnight in Paris" - Austin, Texas

Tuesday, December 13th at 7:00p
Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek
13729 Research Blvd.
Austin, TX 78750

At each Sommelier Cinema we welcome a guest wine connoisseur to choose a wine flight to complement a film. For this installment we bring back Woody Allen’s modern classic, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS.

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS brings to life the most romantic city in the world in a way that only a master like Woody Allen can. He is aided by an amazing cast led by Owen Wilson and the contrasting beauties Rachel McAdams and Marion Cotillard. In la Ville-lumière, Gil (Wilson) is on a charming European vacation with his wife when he suddenly falls under a spell. At night, when the streets begin to empty, he encounters an intellectual's fever dream; an entire ghost world of history and art and life emerges from the ether for his curiousity to investigate. On the cobblestone streets of Paris he is transported into the 1920s, and while there he meets the idols of his imagination; Ernest Hemingway, Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Salvador Dalí, Picaso, Matisse, Buñuel are living the bohemian lifestyle that Gil has always adored. He becomes torn between his days with his family and late nights with the luminaries of world culture.

Cheese pairings provided by Antonelli's Cheese Shop.

Check out what the critics had to say about MIDNIGHT IN PARIS:

Guest Sommelier: June Rodil, Beverage Director Congress Austin: Born in the Philippines and raised in Texas, June Rodil is a talented professional who combines her deep knowledge of wine with her personal passion for the culinary industry. Though her original aim was a career in law, she was deterred by her intense love of food and drink, and after several memorable dining experiences, she decided to pursue a career in wine. June began her studies at Austin’s highly acclaimed Driskill Grill, where she quickly rose from service to sommelier, and spent seven years honing her hospitality skills and learning the intricacies of varietals and vintages before taking on the role of Beverage Director at Austin’s highly distinguished Uchi and Uchiko restaurants.
 June graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in English and Philosophy. In August 2009, she took home top honors as Texas Best Sommelier, awarded by the Texas Sommelier Association and the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas, outscoring her peers in a three-part exam that required mastery in service, blind tasting, and theory; She was most recently recognized as Best New Sommelier 2011 from Wine and Spirits Magazine. Remaining diligent in her wine studies, June continues preparation for the arduous Master Sommelier exam, the final level of the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Fantinel Prosecco NV
Grape(s):100% Glera
From the Friuli region of Italy, the Fantinel is a wonderful start to any occasion with a mousse-like effervescence and elements of white peach, golden apples, and white florals.
Vina Herminia Crianza 2005
Grapes(s): 85% Tempranillo + 15% Garnacha
A medium bodied wine with the classic earthy, tobacco laden, saddle-leather funkiness of Rioja with juicy and dried red currants, cranberries, red cherries, topped with vanilla bean and Christmas spices.

Chateau Coupe Roses Minervois 'La Bastide' 2010
Grape(s): 48% Grenache 48% Carignan 4% Syrah
A full-bodied and dense red with rich blackberry and black currant fruit, dried violets, and brambly earth.
Niepoort Tawny 2011
Grape(s) . Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Amarela, Sousão, Tinta Roriz, etc. etc.
A great end to a meal with notes of cinnamon, clove, and caramelized orange rinds finished with sweet tannins.

For more information including tickets, click here.

Whole Foods Market Cooking Workshop: HANDS-ON French Country Cooking

Tuesday, December 13th from 6:30p to 9:00p
Whole Foods Market, Austin, TX

Rustic, simple French country cuisine is about celebrating quality ingredients in all their glory. Learn to prepare nourishing classic dishes that transport your taste buds to a farmhouse on the countryside.

Menu: Leeks Vinaigrette, Celeriac Remoulade and Marinated Mushrooms; Tartiflette (Potato-Reblochon Cheese Melt) with Spicy Greens; Oyster Fritters in Champagne Batter; Blanquette de Veau; Trout Meuniere with Haricot Verts and Capers; Lemon Tart.

Registration Fee: $70

For more information including registration, click here.
Whole Foods Market
525 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 476-1206

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Panettone Bread

Panettone Bread or better known as “Italian Christmas Bread” is a typical bread of Milan, usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Italy.

It usually contains candied orange, citron and lemon zest, as well as raisins, which are added dry and not soaked. There are many variations available such as plain or with chocolate. It is typically served in slices, vertically cut, accompanied with sweet hot beverages or a sweet wine, such as Asti Spumante or Moscato d'Asti. In some regions of Italy, it is served with Crema di Mascarpone, a cream made from mascarpone cheese, eggs, sometimes dried or candied fruits, and typically a sweet liqueur such as Amaretto; if mascarpone cheese is unavailable, zabaglione is sometimes used as a substitute.

What can you do with it?
  • French toast. It makes a wonderful substitute for the bread.
  • Bread puddings. Use it instead and reduce the amount of raisins and reduce the sugar in your recipe.
  • Breakfast bread. It is absolutely wonderful toasted.
  • Dessert trifle. Get out the trifle dish and make one. It is really simple. Just cube up the bread and layer it into a trifle dish. Then, use whipped cream and layer it. Tasty and very elegant.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ham & Cheese Casserole

Here is an absolutely wonderful ham and cheese casserole dish to serve. The leftovers are wonderful as well and reheat nicely.

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine - 1 stick
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 cups ham - chopped
  • 5 cups potatoes - thinly sliced
  • 3 cups cheese - cheddar, shredded
  • 1 onion - chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper - chopped

  1. Mix flour, pepper, and salt (omit salt if you think ham and cheese are salty enough).
  2. Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour mixture. Cook over medium heat for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Return to heat and cook until thick.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. In a very large bowl, mix remaining ingredients with sauce.
  5. Pour mixture into casserole dish.
  6. Place covered casserole dish in oven for 90 minutes. Remove cover after first 30 minutes.

  • Serves 8.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Roast Beef

Traditionally, we serve beef during our Christmas dinner. Here is a very simple recipe that will have everyone excited at the table.

  • 3 pounds beef eye of round roast
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). If roast is untied, tie at 3 inch intervals with cotton twine. Place roast in pan, and season with salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Add more or less seasonings to taste.
  2. Roast in oven for 60 minutes (20 minutes per pound). Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Serves 6.
  • Beef should be cooked at 375 degrees at about 20 minutes per pound.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes, green beans and beef gravy. 

"Thank Goodness It's Wine Sunday!!" - Bryan, Texas

Sunday, December 11, 2011 from 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM Bryan, TX

Join us for our monthly TGIWINE Sunday- get ready to Mix & Mingle!
Come as you are with all your friends and listen to live music while enjoying Messina Hofs Award Winning Premium Wines!

Its a great way to switch up your weekend hanging spot from your normal routine!
We encourage you to bring your friends, family and co-workers to enjoy TGIWINE Sunday with us!
TGIWINE Sundays- Gold Package:

includes 10 Wines:
2 Dry Whites
3 Semi-Dry
3 Reds
2 Desserts
Small Cheese Plate
$15 in advance/ $20 at the door
BUY tickets now!

TGIWine Sundays- Platinum Package:

Includes 20 Wines:
4 Dry Whites
6 Semi Dry
6 Reds
4 Desserts
Fruit and Cheese Plate
$25 in advance/ $30 at the door
BUY tickets now!

For more information, click here.

Messina Hof Winery and Resort
4545 Old Reliance Road
Bryan, Texas 77808
(979) 778-9463 or toll free (800) 736-9463

Toys For Tots - Clifton, Texas

Saturday, December 10, 2011 (Sat) from 12:00 PM - 7:00 PM Clifton, TX

Join the Marines at Red Caboose Winery in Clifton, Texas for their "Toys for Tots" event, on Saturday, December 10, Noon til 7:00 pm. Bring a toy and get a special discount. One of our Red Caboose favorites, Kyle Redd, Ft. Worth musician, will be entertaining from 3:00 to 6:00 pm.  

Bring a toy for the Marines receive a glass of wine for a penny.

Marines 12pm-7pm
Band: Kyle Redd 3pm-6pm

For more information about this event, click here.

Red Caboose Winery903 S Avenue G
(254) 675-0099

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baked Chicken Using a Slow Cooker

If you want a baked chicken and do not have the time, you can use your slow cooker to do it for you.

  • 1 (2 to 3 pound) whole chicken
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  1. Wad three pieces of aluminum foil into 3 to 4 inch balls, and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper and paprika, and place in the slow cooker on top of the crumbled aluminum foil.
  3. Set the slow cooker to High for 1 hour, then turn down to Low for about 8 to 10 hours, or until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear.
The aluminum foil keeps the chicken out of its own grease and make the skin nice and brown.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tiff's Treats in Austin, Texas

If you have not tried a cookie from Tiff's Treats in Austin, you are missing something very sweet and delicious.

Yesterday, our office was treated to a very nice gift of Tiff's Treats cookies. I had a chocolate chip cookie that was so delicious and sweet. The cookies were delivered to our location while they were still warm and soft in foil-lined box. All the cookies are made from scratch.

Needless to say, I enjoyed my coffee even more with a hot chocolate chip cookie.

Visit their website by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Feast of the Seven Fishes - Austin, Texas

Wednesday, December 14th starting at 7PM with Cocktails
Springdale Farm, Austin, Texas

Chef Sonya Cote will prepare the traditional Italian Christmas Eve meal, The Feast of Seven Fishes, from seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. We'll drive down to meet the boats and choose the best of the by-catch* from that day, then tour the Springdale Farm gardens for winter delights before creating a multi-course extravaganza featuring seven fish dishes and their accompaniments. (For those of you who shared the inaugural meal with us, those kale cakes you loved are a traditional part of this Italian fish feast.)

On top of that glorious meal, our mixmaster Jason Stevens has dug up a recipe for one of Charles Dickens's favorite punches (did you know Charles Dickens was a veritable FIEND for punch?), and will be serving bowls of it at the end of the feast.

And on top of THAT, Graham Reynolds and the Golden Arm Trio will perform their original arrangements of Christmas standards for us to enjoy with our punch bowls. If you caught their holiday show last year, you know these renditions smoke!

We'll be enjoying this sumptuous excess in Springdale Farm's beautiful greenhouse, so we'll be warm and toasty, no matter how frightful the weather outside becomes.

The cost for this luxurious event is only $125 per person, and the dinner is BYOB except for the pre-dinner cocktail and the punch. Cocktails will be served at 7pm, dinner begins at 7:30.

For more information including reservations, click here.

Texas Wine School Seminar Tasting: Wines of Napa Valley (NVV Approved) - Houston, Texas

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Houston, TX

The Texas Wine School Seminar Tastings: "NAPA VALLEY ROCKS": The Napa Valley Vintners Wine Tasting Class Cost: $60.00. including all wine.
Location: Nos Caves Vin, 2501 Wroxton Road, Houston, 77005
Date: Tuesday November 1th
Time: 7.00pm - 9.00pm
Introducing Napa Valley Rocks, an engaging presentation digging into what makes the Napa Valley America's premier winegrowing region.

We explore the unique geological formation of the valley, why it is the ideal climate to grow grapes, historical milestones, and the tradition of leadership that is continued today. This presentation will further your understanding of Napa Valley, and its place within the world of wine.

Introducing Napa Valley Rocks, an engaging presentation created in partnership with the Napa Valley Vintners Association that digs into what makes the Napa Valley America's premier winegrowing region. We’ll explore the unique geological formations of the valley, why it is an ideal climate to grow grapes, historical milestones, and the tradition of leadership that is continued today. This presentation will further your understanding of Napa Valley, its sub-appellations, and its unique place within the world of wine.

For more details, click here.

Texas Wine School & The Cellar Door Champagne and Sparkling Wines Class - Katy, Texas

Monday, December 12, 2011 from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Katy, TX

Texas Wine School & The Cellar Door, The Fundamentals Class: Champagne and Sparkling Wines
Cost: $60.00
Date: Monday December 12th
Time: 7.00pm – 9.00pm
Location: The Cellar Door Winery, 829 S.Mason Road, Katy Tx 77450
This class will introduce you to diverse styles of Sparkling wines out there, from the complex and age worthy Champagnes to the delightfully simple and yummy Prosecco’s and everything in between.
Learn how these different styles of Sparkling Wines are made, where they come from, the grape varities and the flavor characteristics.
We will taste Champagne, Cremant, Cava, Prosecco, New World Sparkling, Rose, Demi Sec & Asti Spumante.
We will learn about the different Production Methods:
  • Methode Champenoise
  • Transfer Method
  • Tank Method
The different styles related to sugar (Brut, Demi Sec etc)
The different size bottles available on the market.
We will learn about the Production Zones of Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, Asti and Cremants.
For more information including reservations, click here.

Christmas Wine Free Grand Tasting - Round Rock, Texas

Saturday, December 10, 2011 from 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Round Rock, Texas

Over 20 Wines from around the World popped open to taste.
First 10 Wines Free Next 10 $10
Bring your Friends, Family and Lovers - This is an event you don't want to miss.

Discounts on everything in the store.
Ideas for your Christmas Gifts:
Wine Club Memberships
Wine Baskets
Gift Cards

For more information, click here to visit their website.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shooting at Southfork- Mystery Comedy Theatre in Plano, Texas

Saturday, December 10th, at 8:00p
Southfork Hotel, Plano, Texas

SOUTHFORK HOTEL – 7th Smash Year!
Murder Mystery Players presents Shooting At Southfork, a fun-filled mystery where guests play the suspects! At every show, guests have the opportunity to enjoy delicious meals while collecting clues, schmoozing with suspects, and winning prizes for their efforts.

Southfork Hotel
1600 N Central Exprsy
Plano, Texas

$37.95 plus tax & gratuity.

For information, call 972-978-9715 or visit their website by clicking here.


Annual Holiday Beer Tasting at the Ginger Man Pub in Austin, Texas

Saturday, Dec 10 3:00p
Ginger Man Pub, Austin, TX

10 Holiday Beer Samples with snacks, trivia and prizes. $35 per person. Please RSVP by Thursday, December 8th.

For more information about this event, visit The Ginger Man website by clicking here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Deliciously Decadent Fudge Brownies

If you are looking for something to make for a holiday party, I think you will find that this recipe for fudge brownies will fit the bill quite nicely.

  • 6 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  1. In a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water melt the bittersweet chocolate and the unsweetened chocolate with the butter, stirring until the mixture is smooth, remove the bowl from the heat, and let the mixture cool until it is lukewarm.
  2. Stir in the sugar and the vanilla and add the eggs, 1 at a time, stirring well after each addition. Stir in the salt and the flour, stirring until the mixture is just combined, and stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Pour the batter into a well-buttered and floured 13- by 9-inch baking pan, smooth the top, and bake the mixture in the middle of a preheated 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out with crumbs adhering to it.
  4. Let the mixture cool completely in the pan on a rack and cut it into 24 bars.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dallas by Chocolate Holiday Taste Tour

Dallas by Chocolate Holiday Taste Tour
Saturday, December 10, 1:00p to 4:00p
Neuhaus Cafe, Dallas, TX


December 10, 1-4 p.m. BOOK NOW FOR $20 per person
Discover Dallas' premier chocolatiers and other artisanal specialty shops.
Tours are 2.5-3 hours long. Led by food experts Steven Doyle and Joe Harberg of Eat More Chocolate, tours feature samples and more.

To book: email or call 972-442-6963 for details.

For more information, click here.

Food-for-Life Diabetes Nutrition & Cooking Class

Saturday, December 10, 12:00p
ChiroFit Wellness Center
901 Cypress Creek Rd. Suite 200
Cedar Park, TX 78613

Food-for-Life Nutrition & Cooking Class for Diabetes presented by Registered Dietitian, Melissa Mouton, MS, RD, LD.
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to many challenges. Research has shown that a low-fat, plant-based nutrition approach can turn type 2 diabetes around - it can prevent complications and reduce the need for medication.
The Food for Life Diabetes Nutrition and Cooking Class is a community-based, national program designed by health professionals to aid people with diabetes to learn about the power of food to improve their health and wellness.
Launched in 2009, the Food for Life Diabetes Nutrition and Cooking Class is designed to bring a new, research-based, easy-to-follow approach to help people with diabetes in two significant ways:
  • Avoid preventable complications from the disease
  • Reduce the need for medication(s)
Designed by physicians, diabetes educators, registered dietitians, and professional chefs, the goals of this program are to empower people with diabetes with information on how food choices promote, prevent, and treat type 2 diabetes and practical cooking skills for healthy and delicious meal preparation. Instructors include registered dietitians, diabetes educators, nutritionists, chefs, health community workers, and trained peer leaders with an interest in diabetes and a passion for plant-based nutrition. Our instructors have completed an extensive training program offered through PCRM, and participate in ongoing, interactive educational sessions.
People who have type 2 diabetes, or concerns about developing diabetes, and their friends and family members will all benefit from the class.
What You Can Expect from the Food for Life Diabetes Cooking Class?
Each two-hour interactive class includes: 
  • Nutrition education on the role of plant-based meal planning
  • A presentation of moving interviews with people who share their inspirational experiences of how they reversed their diabetes following the same nutrition lessons taught in the class
  • A cooking demonstration of simple, tasty recipes that can be easily recreated at home
  • Delicious food samples of the recipes prepared in class
  • Participants will leave the class equipped with recipes, a summary on how to get started with a planted-based nutrition approach, and information on additional resources.
Note: Participants are strongly encouraged to work with their health care team to safely make changes in diet.

For more information, click here.

A Christmas Story Mini Feast at the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek

Wednesday, December 7, 2011, at 7PM
Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek Austin, Texas

Think about the double dog dare, the Chinese caroling, the Red Ryder bb gun, those creepy elves and of course that “fra-jee-lay” Italian imported leg lamp. There is more timeless iconography packed into this perfect little gem than any other Christmas film since the birth of Jesus.

For this special presentation, we encourage each and every one of you to snort along and enjoy your plate just like the piggy does as you chow down on Shrimp, Carrot and Mushroom Eggrolls followed by Roast Duck Breast with mashed potatoes and ginger-sesame sugar snaps, and then rounded all off with Fudge with Vanilla Ice Cream with a Fortune Cookie.

For more information including tickets and pricing information, click here.

Home Alone Cheese Pizza Party at the Alamo Drafthouse Village!

Tuesday, December 6 7:00p
Alamo Drafthouse Village, Austin, TX


8 year-old Kevin McAllister somehow got left behind when his entire extended family got together to take a holiday trip to France. Now this would be an ideal situation for most kids who would seize the opportunity to stay up all night, drink as much soda as they like and enjoy a non-stop barrage of video games, television and all out tomfoolery. But Kevin didn't bank on The Wet Bandits who are taking advantage of their own and preying on empty houses over the Christmas break, robbing them blind and leaving the water running as a calling card. It's now up to Kevin to use every weapon in his kid arsenal to thwart these brain dead burglars who have set their sights on the Arnold house.

Now it would be enough to just get out of the house and enjoy this Christmas classic on the big screen at an Alamo near you, but we're honoring Kevin McAllister, the hero modern of Christmas, with "a lovely cheese pizza, just for me." So grab a ticket and sign yourself up for a Cheese Pizza Party where you won't have to do any sharing and the only limit is yourself. Just be sure and take care of your waitstaff afterwards with a keep the change, ya filthy animal.

For more information including tickets, click here.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

With the cold winter nights, it is nice to serve a hearty dinner that the whole family will enjoy.

  • 2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 5 1/2 pounds pot roast

  1. In a slow cooker, mix cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water. Place pot roast in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture.
  2. Cook on High setting for 3 to 4 hours, or on Low setting for 8 to 9 hours.

Messina Hof's Christmas Murder Mystery Dinner

Friday, December 2, 2011 from 6:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Bryan, TX

The monsters arrived at the Annual Monster Summit expecting a typical meeting of planning the upcoming year's frightening events! As usual, a few monsters fouled the chemistry of the group and caused uncomfortable tension. Nonetheless, the monsters kicked off the evening with creepy cocktails and eerie appetizers. They challenged each other on amusing monster trivia questions before engaging in a catch-up session of the past year's events.

The monsters played some hilarious games such as the Horrific Rap Contest and the Frightening Disguise Challenge. As the night progressed, some of the monsters continued to create hostilities towards one another and so dinner was served with a fun distraction of the Spooky Movie Challenge. Then, to everyone's shock...a monster was murdered! The victim became a ghost and threatened to haunt everyone forever if the murderer wasn't unveiled the monsters investigated the crime and solved whodunit.

Saffron Roasted Corn Chowder with Jumbo Lump Crabmeat
Hearts of Romaine
Topped with Red onions, Sun dried Cranberries, Goat Cheese and Red Bell Peppers tossed with Merlot Dressing
Grilled Strip Steak
Served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes Sautéed Baby Carrots finished with Beef Demi Glaze Sauce
Creamy Cheesecake topped with Strawberry Port Chutney

For more information including pricing and reservations, click here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Peppermint Eggnog Punch

Here is a great party favorite on a traditional holiday beverage.

  • 1 quart peppermint ice cream
  • 1 quart eggnog
  • 4 (12 fluid ounce) cans or bottles ginger ale, chilled
  • 1 cup rum
  • 24 small peppermint candy canes for garnish
  1. Set aside 2 or 3 round scoops of ice cream in the freezer for garnish. Stir remaining ice cream until softened. Gradually stir in eggnog and rum.
  2. Transfer to a punch bowl, and stir in ginger ale. Hang candy canes around the edge of the punchbowl.
  3. Float reserved ice cream scoops on top, and serve immediately.

  • If peppermint ice cream is not available, substitute vanilla ice cream and add a few drops of peppermint extract while stirring.
  • Rum is optional should you decide to serve a nonalcoholic version.

White Chocolate-Peppermint Marshmallow Martini

A delicious holiday variation on a classic martini.

  • Marshmallow sundae topping
  • 2 peppermint candies, crushed
  • Ice
  • 1/4 cup vanilla vodka
  • 1 tablespoon peppermint schnapps
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate liqueur

  1. Dip the rim of a martini glass in marshmallow topping then crushed peppermint candies. Drizzle some marshmallow topping on inside of glass; place glass in freezer.
  2. In a shaker with ice, add vodka, schnapps, and the liqueur. Shake until mixed; pour into prepared glass. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint..

  • The recipe can be easily doubled or tripled. Make up desired amount of martini glasses and freeze ahead of time.
  • Use a pitcher to mix drink ingredients.
  • If you prefer to measure alcohol in ounces, 1 oz equals 2 tablespoons.