Food-o-File

Eat Local Week recap, Central Texas honors, and more delicious news

More than 60 area restaurants offered locally based menu items, and we're told that all the events at this year's Eat Local Week attracted larger paying crowds than last year's, so Edible Austin Publisher Marla Camp says she's optimistic the donation given to beneficiary Urban Roots will top the 2009 total of $38,000. Three events included contests, with the following winners: Barista Contest finalists Dan Streetman of Irving Farm Coffee Com­pany and Clancy Rose of Cuvée Coffee, Tipsy Texan Drink Local Cocktail Contest winner Bill Norris of Haddingtons for his Waco Haze Cutter made with Balcones Rumble and Balcones True Blue (winning recipes are at www.tipsytexan.com), and Nik Ciccone of Fox 7, who cooked his way to a win at the Media Celebrity Cook-Off at the Downtown Farmers' Market Saturday morning. Thanks for participating and hearty congratulations to all.

Speaking of Balcones Distillery, we've been advised that Chip Tate's young Waco operation recently received a five-star review in prestigious spirits periodical The Tasting Panel, a relatively unheard-of honor for such a new endeavor. (I can't help myself – using the words "Waco" and "distilling" in the same sentence makes me smile.)

The austerity of the holidays got you down? Looking for family entertainment to replace the annual pilgrimage to the missing Trail of Lights? Here are some ideas. What about a tour of gingerbread villages at Downtown hotels? Check out the elaborate baked architecture created by the pastry departments at the Four Seasons (98 San Jacinto), Hyatt Regency (208 Barton Springs Rd.), the Driskill (Sixth & Brazos), and the Omni Downtown (Eighth & San Jacinto), but resist the urge to take a bite!... Do stop in for desserts, coffee, and hot chocolate at Mozart's Coffee Roasters (3825 Lake Austin Blvd., 477-2900) to appreciate its huge holiday musical light extravaganza, which presents five minutes of recorded music and dancing lights (including a burnt-orange Bevo) at the top of every hour, 6pm till midnight, every night through the holidays.

Three local bloggers have good reason to celebrate this holiday season. The editors of the Zagat restaurant surveys are now recognizing food blogs that offer unique content specific to selected cities. Kudos to Jessica Meyer's ATX Gluten-Free (www.atxglutenfree.wordpress.com) and Mando Rayo's Taco Journalism (www.tacojournalism.blogspot.com) for being the only Texas food blogs recognized by Zagat... And a big shout out to Hilah Johnson, whose Web TV series, Hilah Cooking!, was named Blog of the Year at last week's Austin Blogger Awards – you go, girl!

While it's highly unlikely that we'll see any actual snow this holiday season, look for authentic New Orleans-style sno-balls, frozen yogurt, and hot chocolate at the new Ice Queens trailer (1210 Rosewood, www.austinicequeens.com), open daily, noon to 7:30pm.

Pitmaster Aaron Franklin called with great news over the weekend. Plans are in the works to relocate his very popular Franklin Barbe­cue operation (3421 N. I-35, 653-1187, www.franklinbarbecue.com) to a brick-and-mortar location on East 11th that comes with decades of great barbecue karma as part of the deal. Franklin signed the lease on Ben Wash's East Austin building last week and expects to be up and running in the new spot soon after the first of the year. Meanwhile, he's still smokin' Wednesdays through Sundays in the original location. We'll keep you posted on the opening date in January.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Eat Local Week, Edible Austin, Urban Roots, Balcones Distillery, Mozart's Coffee Roasters, ATX Gluten-Free, Taco Journalism, Austin Blogger Awards, Ice Queens, Franklin Barbecue

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