Sampling 'Mexican Food in Austin: The Guide;' plus, Foo Swasdee's Tsunami Relief Open House at Satay

Mexican Food Guide

In true Austintatious fashion, a group of Mexican-food loving young friends set out to create a guide to all the Mexican restaurants in our fair city. In the course of their exhaustive research, they consumed thousands of tacos and enchiladas washed down with gallons of frosty margaritas and cold beer. No sacrifice was too large. The result is Mexican Food in Austin: The Guide (Dirty Lowdown Press, $14.95) by Christopher Nelson and Allison K. Walsh. The book divides the city into regions and presents all the Mexican food establishments per region, providing name, address, phone number, hours of operation, credit card information, live music availability, and a descriptive paragraph or two about the food, drinks, and atmosphere. There are also accompanying icons for such things as vegetarian options, full bars, outdoor seating, fast food, etc. The descriptions aren't critical reviews, as such, and some of the writing is silly and self-indulgent, which tends to distract from the subject at hand. However, the sheer volume and comprehensive nature of the pertinent information is very impressive. Think a younger, more casual Zagat and you've got it. Yearly updates are planned, and perhaps the writing will improve. Informationwise, the guide is something every SXSW and ACL guest, conventioneer, and serious culinary traveler should invest in as soon as they hit the city limits. It is currently available at BookPeople, the UT Co-op, and Wheatsville, among other locations.

Event Menu: Jan. 13-20

Satay owner Foo Swasdee invites the community to a Tsunami Relief Open House at her restaurant, featuring complimentary appetizers and drink specials. The local restaurateur has lost dear friends in the recent tragedy and will personally deliver the benefit's proceeds to two relief organizations aiding disaster victims in the seaside communities of Thailand's Kao Lak region. 3202 W. Anderson Ln.; Thursday, Jan. 13, 6-9pm.

• The Austin Restaurant Association and Westwood High School's DECA host the fourth annual Taste of Austin at Palmer Auditorium. The tasting event offers signature dishes from more than 40 area restaurants, caterers, and hotels with a background of live music. Proceeds benefit ARA, Westwood DECA, Mobile Loaves & Fishes, and the Texas Culinary Academy. Tickets range in price from $15 to $25 and are available at; Wednesday, Jan. 19, 5:30-8pm

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