Local businesses churn out holiday fare, and more
The pear bread is back! Miles Compton's delicious pear-ginger tea bread topped with sliced almonds is back in stores for the holidays. Enjoy it lightly toasted as part of a holiday breakfast, or serve slices alongside steaming cups of midafternoon tea or coffee. Look for it at Central Market, Whole Foods Market, and Boggy Creek Farm... Another worthwhile holiday treat is the new turkey mole taco that is the holiday special at Torchy's Tacos (1207 S. First, 366-0537) – turkey tenders are lightly battered and deep-fried, then wrapped in tortillas with a tasty mole sauce, a little Mexican rice, and a slice of avocado – another real winner... The folks at Kerbey Lane Cafe (four locations around town) are justifiably proud of their brand-new website – www.kerbeylanecafe.com – which includes info on their new fall menu (Moroccan lamb, pecan-crusted pork chops, pumpkin pancakes, and more), all the scoop about their holiday gift baskets (new 1-pound packages of their signature pancake mixes paired with other Texas artisan foods), plus everything you need to know about their catering operation. Look for their pancake mixes at all area HEB stores, Whole Foods, Central Market, and Grape Vine Market... If you're interested in a meat-free Thanksgiving feast but not sure where to go for information, check out the vast array of options, information, and Web links at www.gentlethanksgiving.org... The owners of Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill have chosen to celebrate the opening of their new Avery Ranch outlet (10525 W. Parmer, 388-7772) by serving a Thanksgiving feast to 500 servicemen and -women returning to Fort Hood from their recent deployment in Iraq. The troops and their families will arrive at the new restaurant in buses for Operation Turkey Day and enjoy a menu designed especially for them by corporate chef Jack Gilmore... The busy bakers at Sweet Tempered (825-3663, www.sweettemperedaustin.com) can help you with those holiday baking chores – look for examples of their holiday cookie boxes, miniature holiday gift cakes, and various flavors of holiday cupcakes on their website... We are lucky to have some of the best gelato in this country at Teo Espresso, Gelato & Bella Vita (26 Doors Shopping Center, 1206 W. 38th, 451-9555; Tech Ridge Shopping Center, 500 W. Canyon Ridge Rd., 339-1836), and what could be better than to have pints ($6.75, serves five) or quarts ($10, serves 10) of that marvelous frozen delight delivered fresh to your door during the holidays? Think about pairing bourbon vanilla or dulce de leche gelato with pecan pie, gingersnap gelato with pumpkin pie, or choosing a medley of fruit sorbettos for a light dairy and fat-free holiday dessert. Stop by the stores, or call in your order, and they'll explain delivery details and costs... Steve Savina, one of the founding partners of Austin's Grape Vine Market (7938 Great Northern Blvd., 323-5900; 2400 S. I-35 #260, Round Rock, 512/248-9933) has left the company to pursue new career opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley. After eight years at Grape Vine, Steve will be sharing his abiding passions for distinctive wines, good single-malt scotch, and fine cigars with a South Texas regional liquor-store chain interested in diversifying their product lines. He will be sorely missed.