Food-o-File

The month of May is mighty busy

May is a mighty busy month. While we've been focusing on the special pull-out edition of our annual Restaurant Poll results (see this issue), new restaurants are popping up all over. Chef/pastry chef couple Ned and Jodi Elliott have converted a former skate shop in the North Loop area into Foreign & Domestic (306 E. 53rd, 459-1010, www.foodanddrinkaustin.com); the cozy dinner house with a clever and eclectic menu opened May 20... The diversity of dining options in the busy Hong Kong Supermarket center has increased with the recent opening of Crazy Cajun Kitchen (8557 Research #126, 782-8597, www.crazycajunkitchen.com), where you'll find Cajun specialties plus traditional shrimp and crawfish boils... Jace Robinson is combining two popular dessert trends at his cute new shop, Lick It Bite It or Both (11101 Burnet Rd. Ste. 140-A, 835-BOTH, www.lickitbiteitorboth.com). The menu of custom cupcakes and homemade frozen custard changes daily; put your choice of each together for a $5 combo... In the entertainment district, the Elvis-inspired Beale Street Tavern (214-B E. Sixth, 494-6078, www.bealestreettavern.com) offers daily live music and an affordable Southern-flavored menu that would make the King proud... In South Austin, the trailer kitchen at Matt Luckie's swanky new Gibson (1109 S. Lamar, 386-1345) is generating lots of buzz – we hear they make a great burger... Farther south, readers have been raving about Wholy Bagel (4404 W. William Cannon, 899-0200), where a couple of New Jersey retirees have set up a mom-and-pop shop selling authentic East Coast bagels – can't wait to try them out. In Old West Aus­tin, the owners of the successful Metroplex chain Blue Mesa Grill have brought a casual Southwestern grill concept to town: Tacos and Tequila (509 Pressler, 436-8226, www.tntgrill.com), or TNT for short. It opened last week with a benefit for Urban Roots, and the owners plan to have an ongoing relationship with the local farming education program. Well-known Austin chef Alma Alcocer-Thomas is running the TNT kitchen, putting out a menu offering an assemble-your-own breakfast taco platter all day, plenty of appetizers, and a selection of grilled proteins that can be prepared as street tacos, skewers, burritos, or as a component of fresh salads. The bar boasts an impressive assortment of premium tequilas and signature cocktails... A new Interior Mexican restaurant in South Austin is also promoting its tequila selection. Chef-owner Mari­sela Godinez describes the second El Mesón (2038 S. Lamar, 442-4441) as a "tequilería & cocina Mexicana for aficionados," and after a soft-opening menu tasting last week, I can verify that is an honest assessment. The food is authentic and hearty with the robust and complex flavors of Interior Mexican cuisine. The tortillas are homemade, the sauces are diverse and flavorful, and the house-made ice creams are delectable. The new El Mesón celebrates its grand opening this weekend with dinner and cocktails from 5 to 10pm and Sunday brunch from 10am to 1:30pm... A couple of notable anniversaries this month: Homegrown American breakfast mainstay Kerbey Lane Cafe (www.kerbeylanecafe.com) commemorates 30 years of success with some retro-priced menu items and the reprinting of one of its vintage T-shirts. Pure Luck Farm & Dairy (www.purelucktexas.com) is celebrating 15 years of creating glorious artisan goat cheeses on its organic farm near Dripping Springs by launching a new logo design and new product packaging; its five exemplary styles of goat cheese are available locally at Whole Foods Market, Central Market, Wheatsville Co-op, Antonelli's Cheese Shop, and Boggy Creek Farm... Local outlets of the Newflower Farmers Market (6920 Manchaca Rd., 687-2204; 12700 Shops Pkwy. #300, 263-5336) are observing National Celiac Awareness Month in May with educational programs, a shopping list of 4,000 gluten-free products, and in-store "Smart Tags" identifying such products... In other news, Fabi + Rosi (509 Hearn, 236-0642, www.fabiandrosi.com) has added Sunday brunch to the lineup, with a French-inspired à la carte menu from 10am to 2pm... The Screaming Goat (900 W. 10th, 477-4628, www.thescreaminggoat.com) has added cabrito to the menu and will serve kid goat on Sundays until it runs out... Thai Tara fans will be pleased to know that the owners and menu of that popular West Sixth Thai restaurant can now be found at IM Thai (5207 Brodie #200, 892-2744), which was formerly known as CK Thai Cuisine.

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