Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Scoop on Dolce Neve: Coming to South Austin in Early December - Austin, Texas

The Scoop on Dolce Neve:
A Taste of Italy Coming to South Austin, Opening Early December

Austinites will get a little taste of Italy when Dolce Neve—a new traditional Italian gelato shop—opens its doors in early December. Using original recipes from their homeland and machinery from their native region, three Italians who now call the Capital City home make delicious, pure gelato fresh onsite daily. At Dolce Neve, what you see is what you get—locally-sourced seasonal ingredients, organic fresh milk from a local dairy, and absolutely no artificial flavorings, preservatives, or thickeners. It’s all about how true Italian gelato should look, feel, and taste.

At this tiny new spot nestled along ultra-cool bustling S. 1st Street, gelato is made from scratch using a mixing and freezing technique called “mantecazione verticale” rather than an industrial method. It takes a little longer, but the vertical batch freezer (this particular one was invented in the 1930’s) incorporates air in a natural way, which creates a creamier consistency. Every morning seasonal fruit, water, and sugar are combined, and every afternoon, those mixtures are put in the batch freezer to make extremely fresh gelato.

This trio’s love for gelato is how it all got started. Francesca and her brother Marco spent a great deal of time during their formative years at their farmhouse in the Marche region of Central Italy, where they learned from their parents and grandparents about food—harvesting crops, cooking dinner, shopping at the farmers’ market, and making wine. They cultivated an understanding for rich traditions and processes and a palette for fresh products. While living in America, they discovered they couldn’t find real Italian gelato—the kind they grew up craving and savoring—and decided to fill that void. They reached out to Francesca’s boyfriend, Leo, who was working in Milan at the time, and he wholeheartedly joined in. Francesca trained at Carpigiani Gelato University; refined her skills at Pisa’s Gelateria De’ Coltelli, one of the most famous gelato shops in Italy; and placed sixth in the Sherbeth Festival, a competition among the top 40 gelato masters in the world. The trio set their sights on Austin, where they felt their drive to produce a healthy, all-natural gelato would flourish and be appreciated.

Every day Dolce Neve features about 20 different flavors—from the traditional Italian favorites such as hazelnut, pistachio, chocolate, and stracciatella to the creative combinations made from seasonal local products. The trio works with John Lash of Farm to Table to find the freshest ingredients, and Mill-King Market & Creamery in McGregor provides the milk. Many of the gelato offerings are vegan and made with rice milk instead of soy milk. In addition to gelato on cones and in cups, there’s a smattering of gelato sandwiches, granitas, frozen Italian desserts, and gelato on a stick treats. Superior coffee and espresso beans are sourced from artisan roasters, and the end products boast a superior flavor.

Patrons can appreciate the simplicity of it all—from the all-natural gelato itself (“Dolce Neve” means “sweet snow” and refers to the original treat made from snow, honey, and fruit) to the Italian farmhouse–style space designed by Dick Clark and made with upcycled flooring and furniture. Dolce Neve is the real deal, right here in Austin.

Dolce Neve, located at 1713 S. 1st Street, Austin, TX, 78704, will be open Mon through Fri 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sat & Sun 11 a.m. to midnight. For more information, call 512-804-5568 or go to

Lamb Chop Craze: KENICHI Unveils New Fall Menu - Austin, Texas

KENICHI Austin, an edgy interpretation of traditional Japanese cuisine, has unveiled new fall menus that will warm patrons' palates with mouthwatering steaks and seafood paired with the season’s finest flavors.

Highlights include the return of the Kenichi Specialty Lamb Chops; Sake Kasu Sea Bass with grapefruit truffle miso, ginger and baby bok choy; Shishito Peppers with sea salt and lemon; Beau Soleil Oysters with orange wasabi mignonette, tobiko and shiso; and Akaushi Beef Tartare with black truffle, lemon, quail egg and brown butter powder.

For ultra-special occasions, go Omakase Style, with our chef’s exceptional tasting menu offering the full KENICHI experience.

The new fall menu features local and regional meats, produce and ingredients that creatively blend Texas’ bounty with Japanese flavor.

419 Colorado St.
Austin, TX 78701

Sun.-Wed. 4:30–10:00PM
Thurs.-Fri. 4:30PM–1:00AM
Sat. 5:30–11:00PM

Tacodeli Opens Two New Locations in 2014 - Austin, Texas

Tacodeli to Open Two New Locations in First Quarter of 2014:
New Restaurants Opening in Crestview Neighborhood and Village at Westlake

Tacodeli, Austin’s best little authentic taqueria boasting a menu of more than 40 made-from-scratch tacos, is expanding, with two new bricks-and-mortar locations. Located in the Crestview neighborhood at 7301 Burnet Road, and in the Village at Westlake shopping center at 701 S. Capital of Texas Hwy., the new Tacodeli locations are scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2014.

Representing Tacodeli’s foray into Austin neighborhoods where many of the taqueria’s loyal patrons live and work, the new restaurant locations will be between 2,200 and 2,400 square feet, include plenty of patio seating, feature Tacodeli’s award-winning breakfast, lunch and daily specials menu, and embody the welcoming, lively surroundings the Tacodeli brand is known for while also reflecting the sensibility of each neighborhood. Tacodeli owners Roberto Espinosa and Eric Wilkerson are working with acclaimed interior designer Joel Mozersky to modernize the style of the new locations. Each location will be staffed by at least 30 employees, many of whom will be promoted from the company’s three other bricks-and-mortar locations.

The well-loved, iconic restaurant concept that got its beginning in 1999, when the first location opened on Spyglass Drive, and Tacodeli is now ripe for growth. Inspired by delicious food memories from his childhood in Mexico City, Espinosa opened Tacodeli 14 years ago, with Wilkerson coming on board soon after. But Tacodeli has come a long way since the days when Wilkerson and Espinosa towed a trailer by bicycle advertising Tacodeli tacos next to MoPac Expressway during morning rush hour. Indeed, for the past year and a half, Wilkerson, Espinosa and their dedicated team of Tacodeli decision-makers have been on the hunt for the ideal Tacodeli locations, and have been building up the business’ back-office capabilities, adding training systems and restaurant-management systems to help ensure that the company’s infrastructure is scalable and can support more rapid growth.

“We would like to continue to grow the Tacodeli brand in Austin and perhaps in other cities, and this is a great opportunity for us to make sure we can handle that kind of growth,” Tacodeli Co-owner Wilkerson says. “We’re excited to be able to grow the brand. We’re excited about all the opportunities for our team members. And we’re excited about being able to grow relationships with our guests and customers, and to cultivate relationships in neighborhoods we don’t currently have a strong presence in. It’s always a positive to be near other locally owned restaurants, and we love our neighbors!”

With the opening of the new Crestview and Village at Westlake locations, Tacodeli will continue to offer catering services and feature its tacos at a variety of coffeehouses throughout Austin. With the addition of always evolving daily specials, Tacodeli will continue to feature a chef-driven menu of popular breakfast tacos, savory taco lunch favorites, vegetarian and seafood tacos, authentic soups, salads and sides — all made from scratch with fresh ingredients, many of which are organic and locally sourced.

Tacodeli has been cooking up the best tacos in Austin since 1999. In addition to the new locations at 7301 Burnet Road and 701 S. Capital of Texas Hwy., Tacodeli has three other locations: 12001 Burnet Road in North Austin, 4200 N. Lamar in Central Austin, and the original location at 1500 Spyglass Dr. in South Austin. For more information about the new Tacodeli locations, call (512) 732-0303, email or visit  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First-Ever Austin Meatball Festival Features Meaty Competition on November 23 - Austin, Texas

First-Ever Austin Meatball Festival Features
Meaty Competition Between Top Austin Restaurants:
Event to Benefit Local Charities Fresh Chefs Society and Citizen Generation

Austin’s latest food competition is a whole new ball game. The inaugural Austin Meatball Festival, featuring a variety of scrumptious meatballs from as many as 15 of Austin’s favorite restaurants, will take place Nov. 23 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the parking area and outdoor area at classic Italian eatery Winflo Osteria, located at 1315 W. Sixth St. Hosted by Winflo, the Austin Meatball Festival will benefit nonprofits Fresh Chefs Society and Citizen Generation.

The Austin Meatball Festival will include a competition in which restaurants prepare their finest meatball concoctions, from traditional and non-traditional, to meatball sandwiches and sliders. Competing restaurants include Winflo Osteria, Benji’s Cantina, Mulberry, Max’s Wine Dive, Lucky’s Puccias, Umami Mia Pizzeria, Cipollina, Cru Wine Bar, Freedmen's and Andiamo Ristorante, among others.

This savory meatball competition will be judged by a Critics’ Choice Panel of foodies and meatball aficionados, including illustrious food writer Pat Sharpe of Texas Monthly magazine, food and wine writer Jessica Dupuy of CultureMap Austin, Farm to Table’s John Lash and food and lifestyle photographer Jody Horton. In addition to the Critics’ Choice, Austin Meatball Festival guests will be able to pick their own favorites in the People’s Choice vote.

In addition to plates of meaty treats, live music will get the ball rolling in The Listening Room, Winflo’s intimate and exclusive music venue downstairs from the restaurant. Hour-long shows include performances from indie rock band The Rocketboys at 11:30 a.m., singer-songwriter Dan Dyer at 1 p.m. and alternative rockers Nelo at 2:30 p.m.

Proceeds from the Austin Meatball Festival will be donated to Fresh Chefs Society, a local nonprofit that empowers youth in foster care to enrich their lives by learning the culinary arts from community chefs and restaurants; and to Citizen Generation, which works to cultivate and promote philanthropy in Austin by engaging people in community involvement and philanthropic experiences.

Tickets to the inaugural Austin Meatball Festival are limited. Entry into the festival is $15 per person in advance or $20 per person at the door. Entry into the festival and The Listening Room is $35 per person in advance or $40 at the door. Special VIP access ($300) includes a table for four, complimentary wine and an appetizer, four swag bags and access to The Listening Room all day long. All tickets are available for purchase at or Restaurants interested in participating in the Austin Meatball Festival may also sign up at

The Austin Meatball Festival will take place Nov. 23, and is hosted by Winflo Osteria, 1315 W. Sixth St., in Austin. For more information about the festival, visit, or email

Chef Shawn Cirkiel Partners with Forestar Group: Radisson Hotel in Downtown Austin Announces New Restaurant to Open January 2014

Chef Shawn Cirkiel Partners with Forestar Group
Radisson Hotel in Downtown Austin Announces
New Restaurant to Open January 2014

Chef Shawn Cirkiel, acclaimed restaurateur, has partnered with Forestar Group, owner of the full-service Radisson Hotel and Suites in downtown Austin, to open a new restaurant in the hotel. Scheduled to open in January 2014, the new Cirkiel restaurant will feature contemporary southwestern cuisine. Housed in the space previously occupied by a TGI Fridays, the restaurant is being completely transformed by local restaurant designer and architect Michael Hsu.

For restaurateur Shawn Cirkiel, one of the city’s most coveted chefs and the talent behind parkside, Austin’s first gastropub, it’s all about what he likes to eat. So when he created the menu for his new restaurant at the recently renovated downtown Radisson, he went back to his roots. “Growing up in Texas and driving all throughout Mexico, from Mazatlán to Monterrey, it kind of created its own culture,” said Cirkiel. “When you eat and cook and think here, it becomes Southwestern or Tejano or whatever those things mean. And for us, that’s what this is.”

The menu will be built around shareable plates and sides, from homemade tamales and folded enchiladas to grilled cowboy steak and roasted hen. Cirkiel will be sourcing meats, fish, and produce from local farms and ranches and combining them with the flavors he grew up with to create true Texas fare, from fresh fish simply finished to homemade tortillas and biscuits made to order with a little bit of bone marrow, whipped butter, and sea salt.

The restaurant will be serving breakfast (everything from classic migas and huevos rancheros to steak and eggs grilled over an oak fire), lunch (featuring five to six kinds of tortas, from hamburger to black bean and avocado), and dinner (everything from a raw bar with ceviche to fried oyster gorditos and lamb en mole) and desserts, which are made in-house by Cirkiel’s talented pastry team.

Cirkiel will also be providing food service for the hotel, including room service, banquets, and events. “We get to play with a lot of different things,” said Cirkiel.

The restaurant, which will be overlooking Lady Bird Lake, is scheduled to open in January. “For us, it is a great opportunity to create the food we like to cook and eat in a unique environment,” said Cirkiel.

The new restaurant highlights Hsu’s signature contemporary style, with clean architectural lines, oversized windows with views of Lady Bird Lake and a modern, warmly crafted design aesthetic.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chef Shawn Cirkiel to Showcase Culinary Skills at Prevention Magazine’s Inaugural R3 Summit: Oct 26 - Austin, Texas

Chef Shawn Cirkiel to Showcase Culinary Skills at
Prevention Magazine’s Inaugural R3 Summit 

Chef Shawn Cirkiel of renowned parkside, the backspace and olive & june will appear at the first-ever Prevention R3 Summit in Austin, TX on Saturday, October 26th from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive.

Says Prevention, “Our first-ever Prevention R3 Summit will bring the pages of the magazine to life through an immersive and engaging series of events. We’re bringing together the leading minds in health & wellness who will share what’s new and noteworthy through the lens of six pillars: The Healthy Epicurean, Health, Beauty, Peak Performance, Mind-Body, and Happiness.”

Cirkiel will perform two cooking demos at The Healthy Epicurean Cooking Stage: “Austin’s Own Hot Dog Toppings & Healthy Grilling” demo from 11 to 11:30 am and “The Healthy Grilling Demo” from 1 to 1:30 PM. Using primarily locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, these interactive sessions will showcase Cirkiel’s signature style while teaching attendees how to cook delicious, healthy and easy meals of their own.

Cirkiel’s devotion to his community and nutrition is evident by his involvement in many projects, including an initiative at Austin’s Highland Park Elementary, where he has helped develop healthy-eating, exercise and gardening programs. Cirkiel is also a founding chef of the Sustainable Food Center’s Farmers Market in downtown Austin, an SFC Breadwinner and a board member and secretary for the Sixth Street Austin Association, which has been fundamental in raising funds to restore the legendary district.

For more information on Cirkiel and his participation in the Prevention R3 Summit visit

To purchase tickets to the Prevention R3 Summit, visit

5th Annual Pepe Z Tequila Party on the Patio - Austin, Texas

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 5PM
Austin, Texas

Jack Allen's Kitchen
7720 Highway 71 West
Austin, Texas

For more information, click here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Second-Annual Austin Oyster Festival Treats Guests to Ocean of Seafood Delicacies - Austin, Texas

Second-Annual Austin Oyster Festival Treats Guests
to an Ocean of Seafood Delicacies:
Revamped Event Includes Expanded Food-and-Drink Offerings, Live Music, 
VIP Happy Hour and Local Artists’ Market

The second-annual Austin Oyster Festival returns for another year of delectable dining experiences, food-and-beverage pairings, live music, local artists’ market and entertainment — all for a good cause. Hosted at the contemporary Shoal Crossing Event Center, 8611 N. MoPac Expressway on Sunday, Nov. 3, a portion of the proceeds from this year’s Austin Oyster Festival will benefit the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch. General admission is from 1 to 6 p.m., following a special VIP Happy Hour sponsored by Kinky Friedman’s Man in Black Tequila from noon to 1 p.m.  VIP ticketholders receive free mimosas and Bloody Marias and promotional giveaways from noon to 1 p.m., reserved seating, and VIP parking.

The afternoon’s tempting menu will honor the pearl of the sea, the oyster, by presenting the tasty bi-valve in a variety of delectable forms. The Raw Bar will include a selection of premium East Coast oysters from locales such as Maine, Canada, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as well as colossal, juicy Gulf oysters by the dozens, oyster shooters and buckets of peel-and-eat shrimp. The Grill Bar will feature grilled oysters au gratin and Oysters Rockefeller, and the Fry Bar will include savory fried oyster and fried shrimp po’boys, as well as pommes frites and old fashioned fried doughnuts.

A new addition to the festival this year, the Bloody Mary Bar will feature the debut of the Bloody Royale, an outrageous, must-try Bloody Mary topped with a briny oyster on the half shell, jumbo shrimp and pickled green beans, as well as the Hot & Spicy Kinky Maria featuring Man in Black’s premium Plata Tequila. A variety of specialty cocktails and local craft beers at the Topo Chico Beverage Bar will offer guests plenty of drink-pairing choices for their favorite festival dishes.  

DJ Chino Casino will keep the beat from noon to 3 p.m. with blues, jazz and zydeco tunes, and Austin’s own Topaz & Mudphonic takes the stage from 3 to 6 p.m to deliver their homegrown soulful backwoods Texas grooves. The on-site artists’ market will include an eclectic mix of local vendors retailing a variety of handmade wares and goods.    

VIP tickets ($75 per person) to the Austin Oyster Festival include early entry and access to the special VIP Happy Hour, live entertainment, five food and beverage vouchers, VIP parking and reserved seating.

General admission ($50 per person) to the Austin Oyster Festival includes entry, live entertainment and five food-and-beverage vouchers redeemable at any food station (Raw, Grill, Fry, Bloody Mary and Beverage Bar). Additional vouchers may be purchased inside the festival.

Tickets should be purchased in advance for the Austin Oyster Festival at  Additional tickets may be available at the door on the day of the event.

The second-annual Austin Oyster Festival is a production of food-centric events producer Seventy7Degrees LLC. The event will feature a variety of live entertainment, food-and-beverage pairings and an artists’ market, and will benefit the nonprofit Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch. For more information about the Austin Oyster Festival, visit

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

3rd Annual Wine & Swine Pig Roast - Austin, Texas

3rd Annual Wine & Swine Pig Roast
Austin Food & Wine Alliance

Sunday, November 10, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM (CST)
Austin, Texas

Ceres Park Ranch
13005 Fitzhugh Rd
Austin, Texas 78736

3rd Annual Wine & Swine is set to take place in the pristine Texas hill country at Ceres Park Ranch, just 16 miles southwest of downtown Austin. More than 20 chefs will be preparing their best sweet and savory dishes with many preparing whole Berkshire pigs in their own unique culinary styles for the outdoor event that includes live music by Ghosts Along the Brazos; premium wine tastings, spirited cocktails, craft brews and plenty o’ pork tastings.

Our Chef Line-up:
Tatsu Aikawa of Ramen Tatsu-ya
Alma Alcocer - Thomas of El Alma Cafe y Catina
John Bates of Noble Pig Sandwiches
Erica Beneke of Max's Wine Dive 
Mat Clouser of Swift's Attic
Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurants 
Michael Fojtasek & Grae Nonas of Olamaie 
Aaron Franklin of Franklin's BBQ 
Jack Gilmore of Jack Allen's Kitchen
Kristine Kittrell of Mulberry & Weather Up
Larry Kocurek of TRACE
Eric Lucus of Whole Foods Market
Alexandra Manley of Jeffrey's
Sarah McIntosh of Epicerie Cafe & Grocery 
Janina O'Leary
Rene Ortiz & Laura Sawicki
Jesse Perez of Arcade Midtown Kitchen 
Anthony Sobotik & Chad Palmatier of Lick Ice Cream 
Erica Waksmunski of Congress 
Josh Watkins of The Carillon
Andrew Wiseheart of Contigo

The Alliance has community support with Whole Foods Market®, Austin Food & Wine Festival, Texas Pork Producers Association, ABC Bank, Republic National Distributing Company, Glazer’s, FreshPoint, Becker Vineyards, Giant Noise, AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center, Greenling, Texas Monthly, Twin Liquors, CultureMap, Premiere Tents & Events, Butler Wood, Max Photography, Texas Tea and Field Branding & Design.

Tickets are $75 in advance, $95 at the gate. Park & Ride is $25 & must be purchased by Nov 3, 2013.
No infants or strollers. No refunds or exchanges. Rain or shine.
AFWA employs photographers to help record our many events. By purchasing a ticket, your image may be taken and used in future promotions of our events.

AFWA urges all adults to consume alcoholic beverages responsibly.

Now Casting Food Network Star Season 10 - San Antonio, Texas

Food Network is currently casting for season 10 of Food Network Star and is holding an open casting call in San Antonio, Texas.

They are looking for those with a captivating personality who believe they are at the top of the culinary game and want to inspire a Food Network audience through their passion for food and cooking!

San Antonio
Date: 10/14/13
Time: 10am-2pm
Location: Hyatt Regency
123 Losoya Street
San Antonio, TX 78205  

For more information, click here.

Uno, Dos, Tres: Benji's Cantina to Host Pairing Dinner Series - Austin, Texas

Benji’s Cantina to Host Pairing Dinner Event Series:
Uno, Dos, Tres Dinner Series Includes Multi-Course Feasts
Paired With Beer, Wine or Tequila    

 Benji’s Cantina, downtown Austin’s “it” spot for inspired Tex-Mex and West Sixth Street’s only rooftop dining space, is hosting a unique dinner pairing series titled Uno, Dos, Tres that will highlight fresh, farm-to-table dishes paired with a variety of local beers, wine and spirits. The series begins with the Uno dinner event on Oct. 15, featuring Executive Chef Blake Keely’s four-course Tex-Mex meal paired with beers from Austin’s Thirsty Planet Brewery, presented by Brewmaster Brian Smittle.

The Uno dinner will begin with a selection of appetizers. Choices include Shrimp Diablo, Gulf shrimp stuffed with goat cheese and chiles, wrapped in pecan-smoked bacon and served with a poblano vinaigrette, which will be paired with Thirsty Planet’s Buckethead IPA, an aggressively hopped India Pale Ale; or Benji’s Guacamole, made with fresh avocados and mixed tableside with traditional accompaniments, and paired with Thirsty Planet’s Yellow Armadillo Wheat, an American-style wheat ale. The salad course will include Chef Keely’s Spinach and Watercress, a light salad of leafy greens, corn, queso fresco and toasted pepitas tossed with a honey-chipotle vinaigrette, paired with Thirsty Planet’s Yellow Armadillo Wheat. The Uno dinner entrée will be Chef Keely’s Chile en Nogada, a poblano chile stuffed with picadillo, almonds, apples and green olives, served in pecan crema sauce, and paired with Thirsty Planet’s Thirsty Goat Ale, a medium-bodied amber beer with a sweet, malty taste. The final course features a dessert of decadent Cheesecake Sopapillas.  ($60.00 per person)

Benji’s Dos pairing dinner event will take place Nov. 5, and feature four courses of Chef Keely’s time-honored Tex-Mex dishes with a modern twist, paired with a selection of wines. The meal begins with an indulgent Lobster Sope with sweet corn crema and wild mushrooms, followed by savory Green Chili and Butternut Squash Soup served with duck carnitas and bunuelos. The main course includes Chef Keely’s Blackberry Mole-Braised Beef Short Ribs with crisp sweet potatoes and sesame shallots. The dinner event will conclude with a mouth-watering Chocolate Tres Leches cake.

Benji’s Tres pairing event, featuring Chef Keely’s four-course Tex-Mex dinner paired with a selection of elite tequilas, will take place Nov. 19. The first course includes a delicate Scallop Ceviche served with blood orange, mint and serranos, followed by a dish of Seared Panela Cheese with Local Greens served with avocado and toasted pepitas. The main course includes Jalapeño-Basil Shrimp with Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas served with mango butter, arbol glaze and tequila sour cream. Chef Keely completes the meal with the perfect Key Lime Pie.

Each Uno, Dos, Tres pairing dinner event ($50–$85 per person) is limited to 30 guests, and attendees are encouraged to RSVP for the dinners at

Benji’s Cantina is located at 716 W. Sixth St., in downtown Austin. Benji’s is open for dinner service from 4 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 4 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and from 4 to 10 p.m. on Sunday. For more information about Benji’s Cantina and the Uno, Dos, Tres pairing dinner series, visit

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Women Culinary Professionals Come Together with "Dames Across Texas" - Austin, Texas

Austin Dames Poised to Host International Conference of Women Culinary Professionals with a Spirited “Dames Across Texas” Shindig – Tickets On Sale Today to Support Local Scholarships

Local Chapter Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary & National Food Day

The Austin Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier has plenty of reasons to kick up their heels. The chapter is poised to host the Les Dames d’ Escoffier International (LDEI) Conference, October 24-27, a goal that was set five years ago by the local chapter. For the last year, its members have been working to create a welcoming environment of creativity, exploration and food fun in their hometown.  And now they’re ready to party.

The annual conference is expected to attract more than 400 women culinary professionals worldwide and kicks off Thursday, October 24, with “Dames Across Texas,” a spirited Texas wine and dine experience featuring more than 30 Central Texas chefs, women-owned restaurants, wineries and artisanal products (along with music by popular local songwriter Nathan Hamilton) at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center. Open to the public, tickets for the event go on sale today for $55 and can be purchased at: All proceeds support scholarships for women seeking culinary careers.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Austin chapter of Les Dames, which represents more than 50 of Austin’s top women culinary professionals. In the last decade, the chapter has contributed more than $25,000 in scholarships to local women.

“We’re so thrilled that Austin’s dynamic Dames chapter has so quickly become one of the organization’s largest chapters and we’re so excited to host so many of the world’s prominent women culinary pros in our town to experience Austin’s amazing food culture,” said Gina Burchenal, host co-chair of the international organization and past president of the Austin chapter.

Thursday, October 24 also coincides with National Food Day, a nationwide celebration
 and movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. To mark the occasion, the chapter will team up with Austin’s Sustainable Food Center to offer opportunities for the conference visitors to learn about Austin’s efforts to support the affordable fresh food initiative.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Chef Peter Releases Finn & Porter's Fall Menu - Austin, Texas

Finn & Porter Introduces New Fall Menu

Inspired new dishes feature range of flavors from Lockhart Quail and Beets to a Tuna and Chocolate Sushi

Chef Peter Maffei of Finn & Porter, located in the Hilton Austin downtown, will debut the restaurant’s new fall menu on October 7th. Taking full advantage of the region’s best seasonal offerings combined with a healthy dose of originality, Maffei has created a range of new items to surprise and delight.

New to the Signature Sushi menu is “Tuna & Chocolate,” an unexpected combination of flavors developed in collaboration with sushi chef Triet Huynh. The dish delivers not only sweet and savory, but also a hint of spice via chili oil. Other elements include honeydew melon, goat cheese, coconut flakes and chocolate sauce.

New to the Salad and Soup section, Maffei created a Trio of Beet Salad featuring red, golden and candy cane beets, Wateroak Farms goat cheese, pistachios, arugula and beet vinaigrette. This farm fresh dish is artfully presented, showcasing the rich hues of the three beets. A must try item, the Grilled Broccoli Salad presents a new twist to everyday broccoli as the open flame imparts a smokiness to the broccoli. It’s mixed with pickled shallots, golden raisins and sourdough toast. The Small Plates section features Lockhart Quail with celery root, golden beet, leek, carrot and natural jus.  Another fall addition is the Braised Local Lamb Shank with roasted carrot, mushroom, tarragon and served with a freshly baked rosemary popover

Entree additions put the best of fall at the forefront such as a new presentation for Halibut accompanied by roasted cauliflower, butternut squash, raisins and verjus. For the heartier appetite, the 16oz Strube Ranch New York Strip, served with house-made bacon and potato terrine with grilled broccolini is heaven on a plate. Always a favorite in cooler months, Finn & Porter has added Duck Breast complemented by faro, heirloom carrots two ways and raisin puree.

“As a chef, fall is my favorite time of year. It brings a change in the landscape and to the food we eat.  Richly braised meats and the earthiness of fall vegetables create intense flavors, which spurred my love of cooking. Our fall menu is comprised of dishes that put my passion before our guests with each and every bite. The new lamb shank dish is one that I enjoy preparing and sharing with family and friends,” Maffei said.

Chef’s Tastings & Daily Specials

Finn & Porter offers daily specials, and a sushi happy hour every Monday through Friday from 5 – 7 pm with special drink pricing and half off signature sushi and chef’s tastings. Half-priced bottles of wine on all bottles $100 or less is offered every Friday night.

Introducing Cocktail & Cookout Classes at Georgetown's El Monumento & Monument Market - Georgetown, Texas

El Monumento and Monument Market Introduce
Mixologist-Led Cocktail and Cookout Classes:
Events Include Grilling and Entertaining Tips &
Special Cocktail, Wine and Seasonal Menu Tastings

El Monumento, Georgetown’s home-style Mexican restaurant run by the owners of much-loved Monument Café, is hosting its first-ever bar class for connoisseurs of the restaurant’s handcrafted cocktails. The first monthly class, Bar 101 with Jeremy, featuring instruction from Beverage Director Jeremy Corn, will take place Saturday, Oct. 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. at El Monumento.

The exclusive Bar 101 with Jeremy class ($65 per person) will begin with a lunch of seasonal, made-from-scratch Mexican fare at the restaurant’s expansive counter, with views of the kitchen. Next, the class will adjourn to the Tiki Bar in El Monumento’s lush courtyard, where guests will sample a wide array of spirits, from universal favorites to some remarkable and unexpected liqueurs. Beverage Director Corn will regale guests with a bit of history about each sampled spirit, answer questions and suggest intriguing mixology concoctions. Additionally, Corn will teach attendees how to make a variety of classic cocktails to his exacting standards.

In addition to El Monumento’s Bar 101 with Jeremy class, Monument Market, which features locally sourced, organic produce, meats and dairy products, will host the first monthly Cookout with Jeremy class on Thursday, Oct. 17 from 7 to 9 p.m. Part social gathering, part educational event, the exclusive Cookout with Jeremy class ($50 per person) will give attendees the opportunity to learn detailed tips on cooking and grilling, wine and beer, and entertaining. Additionally, Corn will provide some guidance about how to best pair wine and beer with specific meals. Attendees will be able to sample a variety of wines, beers and local, seasonal grilled delicacies.  

And on Oct. 22, El Monumento will also host a cocktail and food pairing dinner ($65 per person), featuring Beverage Director Corn’s characteristic cocktails paired with a seasonal four-course menu devised specifically for the event.

Both classes and the cocktail and food pairing dinner are limited in size. Guests are encouraged to register in advance. Email to reserve a spot in the Bar 101 with Jeremy class. Email to reserve a spot for the Cookout with Jeremy class.

In addition to the classes and pairing dinner event, El Monumento is celebrating the return of its Charity Night events. The first Charity Night of the season, titled Trick-or-Treat for Main Street, will be hosted in the El Bar and surrounding courtyard on Oct. 16, from 5 p.m. to close. The event is a fundraiser for the Georgetown Main Street Program, which works to enhance the vibrancy and historic preservation of downtown Georgetown. Trick-or-Treat for Main Street will feature Beverage Director Corn’s special spiced pumpkin cocktail, proceeds from which will be donated to the Georgetown Main Street Program. Representatives from the Georgetown Main Street Program will also be on hand to answer questions and help promote the mission of the organization.

Other upcoming Charity Night events at El Monumento include the November Charity Night, benefiting the Georgetown Arts and Cultural Center.

El Monumento is located at 205 W. Second St., in Georgetown. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information about El Monumento, the monthly Bar 101 with Jeremy class, the cocktail and food pairing dinner, or the upcoming Charity Night events, call (512) 591-7866, or visit    

Monument Market is located at 500 S. Austin Ave., next to Monument Café in Georgetown. The market features a variety of locally sourced, organic produce, meats and dairy products. For more information about Monument Market and the monthly Cookout with Jeremy class, call (512) 240-4715, or visit