News for foodies to chew on

By Virginia B. Wood, Fri., Nov. 26, 2010

Kudos to local dessert purveyor Tracy Claros for the fabulous success of her six-year-old Sticky Toffee Pudding Co. After winning a gold medal at the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade's summer Fancy Food Show and having her products recognized among the Top 5 Specialty Food Trends of 2010, Claros was invited to show her signature puddings at a preholiday presentation for the national food media earlier this month. All the national recognition has allowed Claros to increase the distribution of her delectable sweet treats to more regional outlets of both Whole Foods Market and Costco stores. Local fans can stock up for the holidays at Whole Foods, Central Market, or order online at www.stickytoffeepuddingcompany.com... Claros will present a hands-on $60 class featuring British holiday desserts at Central Market Cooking School (4001 N. Lamar) on Sunday, Nov. 28, 11am-1:30pm. Make necessary reservations at www.centralmarket.com.

Another great holiday dessert idea is the newest seasonal flavor from Blue Bell: Spiced Pumpkin Pecan ice cream is chock-full of candied pecans and a cinnamon-honey praline swirl. It was quite a hit at the office recently. This new flavor would be the perfect companion to pumpkin or pecan pie – or what about a Spiced Pumpkin Pecan ice cream pie in a crunchy gingersnap crust? Simple and delicious.

We've just been advised that the well-loved Bouldin Creek Coffeehouse (1501 S. First) is closing on the evening of Nov. 24 but will re-open in the next few months in a bigger space currently under construction at the corner of South First and West Mary. The new venue will include a larger kitchen that can turn out an expanded food and drink menu, more indoor seating with the potential for table service, and a bigger parking area. What's not to love? We'll keep you posted on the opening date.

Two popular Downtown eateries have recently announced plans to open for weekday lunches. The Good Knight (1300 E. Sixth, 628-1250, www.thegoodknight.net) is now serving a menu of sandwiches made with house-cured meats paired with hearty soups, weekdays from 11am to 2pm. Farther west, La Condesa (400 W. Second, 499-0300, www.lacondesaaustin.com) will begin serving lunch on Dec. 1: a sophisticated Mexican bistro menu in the $8-15 price range, 11:30am-2:30pm weekdays.

Speaking of La Condesa, it was one of eight local restaurants included in Texas Month­ly's list of the 50 Best Mexican Restaurants in Texas. After a team of critics conducted exhaustive Mexican food marathons in all of Texas' major metropolitan areas, TM published the results and Food Editor Patricia Sharpe's conclusions about them in the December issue. Sharpe opines that the culinary dominance of traditional Tex-Mex food may be a thing of the past – that "as dishes from Mexico's heartland apply for permanent residency in Texas at an ever-increasing rate, we're on the threshold of a new culinary era: the time of Mex-Tex." In addition to La Condesa, the local eateries on the TM list are: Fonda San Miguel (in the Top 5), Curra's Grill, El Mesón, El Naranjo, Garrido's, Manuel's, and Takoba.

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