Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Andiamo Says Amore for Valentine's Day

Andiamo Ristorante Spreads the Amore

This Valentine’s Day With Love-Themed Menu:
Four-Course Meal Includes Authentic Italian Dishes Served With Romantic Flair   

North Austin Italian bistro Andiamo Ristorante, known for serving only the most authentic Italian cuisine in the traditional style, is treating diners to a little more amore this Valentine’s Day. On Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, during dinner service from 5 to 10 p.m., Andiamo will serve a special four-course love-themed menu ($65 per person, $80 per person with Italian wine pairing) featuring many dishes from owner Daniela Marcone’s own Italian family recipes.

Andiamo guests will begin this romantic Italian feast with a choice of appetizers, including La Felicità (“Happiness”), a dish of house-made Italian sausage served with house-made picked peppers; Mi Fa Ricordare Di Te (“It Makes Me Think of You”), fresh scallops served with capers and shallots in a balsamic brandy cream sauce; and La Passione (“Passion”), a seasonal house-made roasted red bell pepper soup.

For the second course, Andiamo’s love-themed menu features a choice of salads, including Gli Innamorati (“Lovers”), tender mixed greens with fresh strawberries, toasted almonds and Pecorino Romano in a raspberry vinaigrette; Baci e Abbracci (“Kisses and Hugs”), fresh greens, candied walnuts and gorgonzola cheese in a pomegranate dressing; and Mi Sai Viziare Bene (“You Know How to Spoil Me”), Andiamo’s signature fennel salad.

The meal heats up with a choice of seductive Italian entrées, including Destino (“Destiny”), medallions of beef tenderloin sautéed with aromatic herbs in a cognac veal reduction; Romantica Follia (“Romantic Foolishness”), classic risotto in a creamy porcini mushroom Parmesan sauce; Dal Profondo Del Cuore (“From Deep in the Heart”), roasted prawns stuffed with crab meat and potatoes served in a tarragon lemon sauce; and Amore e Psiche (“Love and Psyche”), house-made squid-ink seafood ravioli and baby scallops in a saffron cream sauce.    

Andiamo’s love-themed meal is completed with a choice of decadent desserts, including Solo Parole d’Amore (“Only Words of Love”), house-made hot chocolate soup with crushed red peppers; Cuori Legati (“Laced Hearts”), a fresh fruit tart; and Ti Vorrò Sempre Bene (“I Will Always Love You”), Andiamo’s luscious house-made tiramisu.

Seating for Andiamo’s Valentine’s Day dinner service is limited, and guests are encouraged to reserve a table by calling (512) 719-3377 or emailing andiamoitaliano@gmail.com.      

Andiamo Ristorante is located at 2521 Rutland Dr., in North Austin, and features only authentic Italian cuisine inspired by seasonal ingredients and classic Italian recipes. Andiamo is open for lunch service Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and for dinner service Monday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. Andiamo also offers private dining for special events. For more information about Andiamo and the special love-themed Valentine’s Day dinner menu, call (512) 719-3377, or visit www.AndiamoItaliano.com.

Haters Club Valentine's Day at Liberty Tavern

‘Haters Club’ Valentine’s Dinner and Drinks Return to Liberty Tavern

Gathering for Cupid Haters Features Heartbreakers Cocktails and $4 Local Craft Beers after 9pm

Liberty Tavern, located in Hilton Austin downtown, knows that misery loves company and is serving up food and drink specials to make February 14th worth loving even without the romance.  Celebrating singledom? Rejoicing with the skeptics of the Hallmark holiday? Whatever the reason, Liberty Tavern is the place to be for Valentine’s specials from 5pm onward.

Bar specials include the nicely priced Heartbreakers Cocktail Menu: the Black Heart, a bubbly concoction of Moscato with a float of Guiness ($5.50), the Red Light, featuring Angel’s Envy bourbon whiskey, raspberry simple syrup, dry vermouth and a splash of soda ($6) and the Stupid Cupid shooter comprised of Angel’s Envy, Malibu rum, cranberry juice and triple sec ($4).  To ensure one doesn’t drown in his/her sorrows, Liberty Tavern will feature a hearty dinner special – a Slow-roasted Double Bone in Pork Chop with smashed potatoes and sauteed broccolini with thyme demi-glaze. Other menu items that may bring back that lovin’ feeling include a fall-off-the-bone Pork Shank, Steamed Mussels in a local hefeweizen broth and the Crab Mac served with lump crab, cavatappi pasta and a five-cheese Parmesan crust.

In addition to the anti-Valentine cocktails, Liberty Tavern has a place in its heart for local beverages such as Tito’s Kick'n Mule and the Texas Sipper on tap along with beers from Austin Beerworks, Circle Brewing, Adelbert's and Hops & Grain.  All local craft brews are $4 from 9pm until close.  All Texas cocktails are $2 off from 9-11pm daily as part of Texas Happy Hour.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Celebrate Valentine's Day at The Carillon

The Carillon is celebrating Valentine's Day for three nights on February 13, 14 and 15 from 5:30 to 10:00pm, with a 3- and 5-course, custom crafted menu. Make your sweetheart swoon with Hamachi Crudo, Hawaiian Blue Prawns, Wagyu Ribeye, Chocolate Terrine and more.

The Carillon's Valentine's Day 2014 Three-Course Menu:
$130 per couple; $200 per couple with wine pairings

1: Hawaiian Blue Prawns, Ajo Blanco, Puffed Rice, Grape, Cilantro

2: Wagyu Ribeye, Miso-Carrot Puree, Maitake Mushroom, Mustard Green, Yuzu Kosho

3: Chocolate Terrine, Passion Fruit Ice Cream, Blood Orange, Rum Cremeux, Vanilla Sponge

The Carillon's Valentine's Day 2014 Five-Course Menu:
$190 per couple; $300 per couple with wine pairings

1: Hamachi Crudo, Passion Fruit Puree, Macadamia Nut, Pickled Beet, Celery

2: Grilled Romaine, Citrus, Radish, Garlic Crouton, Bacon Powder

3: Hawaiian Blue Prawns, Ajo Blanco, Puffed Rice, Grape, Cilantro

4: Wagyu Ribeye, Miso-Carrot Puree, Maitake Mushroom, Mustard Green, Yuzu Kosho

5: Chocolate Terrine, Passion Fruit Ice Cream, Blood Orange, Rum Cremeux, Vanilla Sponge

6: Mignardises: Assorted Macarons

Four Courses to Love at Finn & Porter on February 14th


Enjoy an intimate dinner with a loved one or share the evening with a group of friends on February 14th 

Finn & Porter, located at 500 East 4th Street between Red River and Neches Streets, has designed a Valentine’s Day menu to fan the flames of romance, or at the very least, pure culinary bliss. The four-course dinner, created by Chef Peter Maffei, features selections such as Grilled Oysters, Confit Pork Tenderloin, Beef Tenderloin and Lobster (the Finn & Porter), Grilled Hearts of Palm and Asparagus salad and much more to ensure a night to remember on Friday, February 14th.

The first course features the option of Grilled Oysters with shaved radish over a Champagne buerre blanc micro herb salad, Hamachi Ceviche with cured Meyer lemon, fennel and horseradish, or Braised Lamb, from Hodges Ranch of Sterling City, TX, on top of Ricotta gnocchi, peas, tarragon and chervil.  The second course includes both savory and light options – Roasted Butternut Squash Soup topped with Crème Fraiche, and chives, Grilled Heart of Palm & Asparagus Salad mixed with Prosciutto, upland cress, Marcona almond, with a herb vinaigrette or Endive & Beet Salad (the beets are locally grown at Verstuyft Farms) with apple, Water Oak Farms goat cheese and a roasted hazelnut dressing.  

The main course covers surf, turf and vegetarian options: a Confit of Pork Tenderloin served with caramelized apple and new potato, pickled mustard seeds and Swiss chard; Grilled Gulf Red Snapper with haricot vert, marinated artichoke, shaved beet and Peruvian potatoes; The Finn & Porter features a 5oz. center cut beef tenderloin, poached lobster, creamed spinach, and fennel orange buerre blanc.   For the veggie lover, there is locally grown Sweet Potato Ravioli with a brown butter vinaigrette, sage, and finished with roasted chestnut.

To top it all off, indulge in the Dessert Trio for 2. The last (but most certainly not least) course includes chocolate cake, bread pudding and butternut squash cheesecake. Wine pairings for each course are available upon request.

The special menu will be available from 5pm to 11pm-- $75 ++ per person. For more information and reservations, visit http://www.finnandporter.com/austin or call 512-493-4900.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Red Cross of Central Texas Presents Night of 50,000 Lives at Sway

The Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation and the American Red Cross of Central Texas present the Night of 50,000 Lives, an exclusive dinner at Sway to benefit the Measles & Rubella Initiative on Thursday, February 13 from 6:00 to 9:00pm.

Co-founded by the American Red Cross, the Measles & Rubella Initiative is one of the world’s most successful partnerships in global health – helping to control the spread of measles and to dramatically reduce mortality rates for these deadly diseases.

Sway Executive Chef Alexis Chong will prepare and present a spectacular 5-course menu, featuring award-winning modern Thai cuisine and hand-selected beverage pairings. This exclusive evening offers 100 guests the opportunity to dine at one of Bon Appetit Magazine’s Top 50 New Restaurants of 2013 while supporting an international effort to eradicate measles by 2020. Tickets for the dinner are available here for $250 per person.

With $1, you can vaccinate one child and save a life. Together, we can save 50,000 lives in one evening.

JuiceLand Opens Seventh Location In Lakeway


Locally Owned Juice Bar Expands With Newest Location
at Lohmans Crossing and Ranch Road 620

JuiceLand, Austin’s favorite, locally owned juice bar, announced today that its seventh Austin location officially opened this week at the intersection of Ranch Roach 620 and Lohmans Crossing. This is the first JuiceLand to open in Lakeway and is the closest location to Lake Travis.

"Lakeway, you just got served! We are all really looking forward to getting to know all the eager folks that have been watching and waiting for us to finally open,” said JuiceLand Founder Matt Shook. “Our manager Annabelle has set up a shop that you are all going to love, so please make sure you offer to trade her boat privileges for smoothies; she's one heck of a captain!"

This Lakeway location will not only offer the entire menu and all food selections, but will also serve as a fresh juice cleanse pick up center. Due to its growing customer base, JuiceLand could no longer ignore customer requests for a store near Lake Travis, and is excited to continue its Austin expansion based on these requests.

Guests at this location will enjoy the beloved JuiceLand menu, which is consistent through all locations. Voted as Best Smoothie Shop in Austin by Austin Fit Magazine in 2013, sample menu items include favorites such as the Originator with fresh apple juice, banana, blueberry, cherry, peanut butter, rice protein, spirulina and flax oil; Bambaataa with fresh pineapple juice, banana, mango, hemp protein, coconut oil, spirulina and raw almonds; and Vegetable Kingdom with fresh apple juice, carrot, beet, spinach, lemon, mango, cherry and spirulina.

JuiceLand also offers fresh vegetable and fruit juices, aguas frescas, smoothies, raw superfood cocktails and more. JuiceLand also offers three levels of juice cleanses to assist patrons in achieving their health goals. Voted as Best Healthy Lunch in 2013 by Austin A-List, JuiceLand also offers premade food items including the customer favorite Double Rainbow Quinoa Salad, Kale Salad and the newest menu addition, Super Happy Fun Sushi Bowl.

JuiceLand’s newest location is located at 2422 Ranch Road 620, in Austin, Texas. For updates, go to www.JuiceLandAustin.com and follow on Facebook @JuiceLandAustin and on Twitter @JuiceLandAustin.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Vinyl and Upstairs on Trinity to Open This Month


Vinyl & Upstairs On Trinity to Open January 16 with Music and Drink Specials All Weekend Long

ATX Brands announced today that Vinyl & Upstairs on Trinity, located above Chicago House at 607 Trinity in downtown Austin, are set to open their doors on Thursday, January 16. To celebrate the openings, ATX Brands will be holding a sampling party that will last all weekend from January 16 to January 18 with complimentary tastings, drink specials and special guest DJs. Vinyl and Upstairs on Trinity will hold their official launch party on Saturday, January 25 from 9:00pm to 2:00am featuring music by Stylust Beats, Le Moti and Galvanix.

“I’m excited to share this trifecta with Austin,” said ATX Brands CEO and Founder Doug Guller. “We’re able to cater to any audience with a wide variety of craft beers from Chicago House, sophisticated wines and champagnes at Upstairs on Trinity and great cocktails next door at Vinyl. This has been in the works since we first opened Chicago House, and it will be hard to find a better mix in downtown Austin at one location.”

Next door to Chicago House is downtown’s mysterious hidden gem, Vinyl, a music inspired lounge focused on eclectic and cutting edge talent of underground musicians and DJs from Texas and across the globe. Adding to Austin’s hot nightlife scene, Vinyl features a one-of-a-kind intimate atmosphere with a secret entrance, a 13,000-piece vinyl collection, graffiti inspired décor and amazing cocktails.

Head up the stairs from Chicago House to relax at Upstairs on Trinity, the perfect retreat from the hustle of 6th Street. Surrounded by beautiful limestone walls draped in crimson with endless windows and glowing chandeliers, Upstairs on Trinity exudes elegance and sophistication. The venue will feature an extensive selection of premium wines, exceptional champagnes, sangrias and small plates. Menu items include fresh flatbread pizza, cheese plates, charcuterie, and local sweet treats.

The launch party for Vinyl and Upstairs on Trinity will feature Donnie Dee and Dick Nickson on Thursday, January 16, DJ Manny and DJ Charlie + DJ Jeska on Friday, January 17 and Boom Baptist & Digg on Saturday, January 18. Doors will be open from 9:00pm to 2:00am. RSVP for the non-stop three-day event can be found here.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Whisler’s Brewers, Butchers & Bartenders Industry Night

Whisler’s Brewers, Butchers & Bartenders Industry Night Welcomes Special Guests, 512 Brewery and Salt & Time on January 19th

Monthly Gathering Open to All

Whisler’s, the acclaimed new bar in East Austin, returns with its monthly Brewers, Butchers & Bartenders Service Industry Night. Bar owner Scranton Twohey launched the Sunday evening celebration to welcome fellow members of Austin’s hospitality industry and their friends.  However, all patrons are invited to enjoy an evening that includes special drink pricing and featured guests such as East Austin neighbors, butcher and salumeria Salt & Time, who will be serving a charcuterie selection. Austin’s 512 Brewery will be on hand with a cask of their seasonal Cascabel Cream Stout.

Whisler’s Service Industry happy hour menu regularly features six classic cocktails including an Old-Fashioned, Moscow Mule and Brown Derby for $6 along with two Beer & Shot specials, also $6.

1816 E. 6th Street, corner of Chicon; phone: 512-480-0781
Sunday, Jan. 19th, beginning at 6pm
TICKETS/PRICING: No tickets required; special food and drink pricing

Thursday, January 9, 2014

4th Annual Lone Star Paralysis Benefit at Jack Allen's Kitchen, Oak Hill

ELM Restaurant Group to Launch New Italian Concept

ELM Restaurant Group Acquires New Downtown Location
Team Behind 24 Diner, Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden and Arro 
to Launch Italian Restaurant Concept in 2014  

The partners of ELM Restaurant Group are excited to announce the acquisition of a restaurant space centrally located in downtown Austin at 123 W. Sixth Street in the historic and acclaimed midcentury-modern McGarrah-Jessee Building, the former site of Bar Louie. This will be the fourth project from the team responsible for local hotspots 24 Diner, Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden and Arro.

ELM Executive Chef & Partner Andrew Curren, a two-time nominee for People’s Best New Chef from Food & Wine and twice lauded by industry peers in Best Chefs America (2013, 2014), will helm the kitchen at this new, unnamed Italian concept. The project has special significance for Chef Drew for several reasons. Originally enrolled in the Animal Sciences program at Texas A&M University, it was during his senior year study-abroad program in Tuscany that he fell in love with the Italian culture, discovered his passion for cooking and decided to swap out his lab coat for a chef jacket. It was during this same fortuitous trip that he met and roomed with fellow A&M student Craig Collins, now a Master Sommelier and ELM’s Executive Beverage Director.

Drew went on to become valedictorian of his class at the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, New York, where he also met his future wife, pastry chef Mary Catherine Curren. After graduation, he worked in Manhattan for renowned chefs Floyd Cardoz and Danny Meyer before returning to Italian fare at Barbuto under Chef Jonathan Waxman. “Learning the ways of a true farm-to-table restaurant, where we would write menus every morning in the markets for that evening’s service, rekindled my love for rustic Italian food,” says Drew. “I have wanted to create my own version of my experiences in both Italy and New York for quite some time. I plan to merge the pizzeria lunch culture with the rustic and seasonal traditions of Italian trattorias in a super approachable, authentic and warm restaurant comparable to walking into a Tuscan home and sitting down for dinner and wine with family and friends. That’s what brought me to this industry in the first place!”

Master Collins is equally enamored with Italy, having selected the country for his semester abroad specifically to further his wine knowledge. In Tuscany, the two roommates frequently hosted wine tastings for their fellow students, which just seemed like fun at first but soon evolved into a dedicated course of study of its own as they sampled myriad wines side by side, discovering the nuances of the various regions and grape varietals. Prior to his partnership with ELM, Craig worked with Dalla Terra Winery Direct, importing a collection of first-rate Italian wines into the United States. Per Craig, the new concept will feature a “user-friendly, Italian-focused wine program highlighting the iconic producers from premier regions as well as offering a fine selection of cocktails and Italian aperitifs and digestifs.”

The restaurant is tentatively scheduled to open in Summer 2014.

Andiamo Ristorante Reveals Seasonal Wintertime Menu

Andiamo Ristorante Reveals Seasonal Wintertime Menu:
Specialties Include Authentic Italian Cuisine Inspired By
Classic Family Recipes & Local Ingredients 

Andiamo Ristorante, the North Austin Italian bistro that serves only authentic Italian fare served in the traditional style, is rolling out its wintertime menu, with dishes inspired by seasonal ingredients like local mushrooms, veal and truffles, and owner Daniela Marcone’s own classic family recipes.

Purchased by Marcone, a native of Naples, Italy, in 2010, Andiamo features seasonally rotating menus driven by fresh, local ingredients and uncompromisingly authentic Italian cuisine. Many of the restaurant’s ingredients are purchased by Marcone during her twice-weekly visits to Austin’s farmers markets, and every dish served at Andiamo — from the freshly baked bread and pasta, to the desserts — is handmade in-house and chef crafted to ensure the most authentic of Italian dining experiences.      

Inspired by robust seasonal ingredients, winter dishes on Andiamo’s Primi Piatti dinner menu include Linguine al Tartufo ($23.50), linguine pasta sautéed with black truffles in a saffron white wine sauce; Ravioli ai Funghi ($21.50), a dish of house-made ricotta and mushroom ravioli sautéed with dried cranberries and almonds in a brown butter rosemary sauce; Rigatoni al Radicchio e Gorgonzola ($20.50), rigatoni sautéed with radicchio, walnuts and gorgonzola in a light cream sauce; and Linguine Luci Johnson ($22), a specialty dish of shrimp, cherry tomatoes, mixed mushrooms, arugula and crushed red pepper in a garlic olive oil sauce.

Andiamo’s Secondi Piatti winter menu includes hearty, savory dishes such as Vitello ai Porcini ($25), veal scaloppini with porcini mushrooms in a brandy cream sauce, served with potatoes and seasonal mixed vegetables; Maiale all’Aceto Balsamico ($23.50), roasted pork tenderloin with caramelized baby onions and balsamic vinegar, served with baby arugula; and Filetto alla Griglia ($30), succulent grilled beef tenderloin topped with a gorgonzola cream sauce, served with potatoes and seasonal mixed vegetables.

The lunchtime menu at Andiamo features a variety of antipasti and freshly made salads, as well as Primi Piatti dishes such as Gnocchi alla Bava ($10.50), gnocchi with a fontina cream sauce; and Linguine alla Bolognese ($11.50), linguine in a savory meat ragu sauce. Lunchtime Secondi Piatti dishes include Salmone al Forno ($15), baked salmon served with black olives in a Dijon mustard sauce and topped with asparagus, green onions and arugula; and Pollo ai Carciofi ($13.50), a chicken breast sautéed with artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and green onions in a garlic lemon white wine sauce, served with potatoes and seasonal mixed vegetables.

Marcone is currently preparing a wintertime dessert menu, which will include Italian classics and a Hot Chocolate Soup with crushed red pepper. And Andiamo will continue to provide its discerning wine list, featuring very small Italian producers, including organic and biodynamic varieties.

Andiamo Ristorante is located at 2521 Rutland Dr., in North Austin, and features only authentic Italian cuisine inspired by seasonal ingredients and classic Italian recipes. Andiamo is open for lunch service Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and for dinner service Monday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. Andiamo also offers private dining for special events. For more information about Andiamo, owner Daniela Marcone and the seasonal wintertime menu, call (512) 719-3377, or visit www.AndiamoItaliano.com.  

Get The Scoop...Literally! Dolce Neve Grand Opening Offers Free Scoops on Opening Day


Here’s the scoop. Dolce Neve—a new traditional Italian gelato shop on ultra-cool S. 1st Street in Austin—will be giving away a free scoop to patrons on January 10th, starting at 5pm to celebrate its grand opening. At Dolce Neve, three Italians who now call the Capital City home use original recipes from their native region to make pure gelato daily. There are absolutely no artificial flavorings, preservatives, or thickeners—only seasonal ingredients and organic fresh milk from a local dairy. Dolce Neve is about simplicity—natural products that taste delicious.

The 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 process incorporates air in a natural way, which creates a creamier consistency. Gelato Maestro Francesca knows precisely what real Italian gelato should look, feel, and taste like. Francesca worked at Pisa’s Gelateria De’ Coltelli, one of the most famous gelato shops in Italy. In 2012, Francesca won first prize at the Sherbeth Talent Show, a competition among the most talented emerging chefs in the gelato business, and placed sixth in the Sherbeth Festival, the preeminent gelato competition in the world.

Every day Dolce Neve features about 20 different flavors—from the traditional Italian favorites such as hazelnut, pistachio, and stracciatella to the creative combinations made from what’s in season around Austin. The owners—Francesca and her brother, Marco, and boyfriend, Leo—work closely with local purveyors to find the freshest ingredients. And some of the gelato offerings are vegan or made with rice milk instead of soy milk. In addition to cones and cups, Dolce Neve features gelato sandwiches, granitas, frozen Italian desserts, and gelato on a stick treats. Beans for espresso beverages are sourced from artisan roasters, and the end products boast a superior flavor.

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 farmhouse–style space designed by Dick Clark and made with upcycled materials, Dolce Neve is the real deal, right here in Austin.

Dolce Neve, located at 1713 S. 1st Street, Austin, TX, 78704, is open Tues thru 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 dolcenevegelato.com.