Austin's beloved cheese shop expands
2012 is off to a great start for busy cheesemongers John and Kendall Antonelli. They've secured a new space called the Cheese House directly across the street from Antonelli's Cheese Shop (4220 Duval St.). The new building provides office space, a huge walk-in cooler to accommodate an even larger and more diverse selection of cheeses, a meeting room for tasting events, and a convenient parking lot, which will be welcome news to regular Antonelli's customers. With its second anniversary approaching on Feb. 11, the shop will once again commemorate the event by offering free cheese plates at some of the restaurants that feature its cheeses. The free cheese plates will be available at three restaurants each evening from Monday through Friday, Feb. 6-10; participating restaurants will be listed at www.antonellischeese.com. Also, customers who buy cheese plates featured at any of Antonelli's restaurant clients should save the receipt and redeem it for a 15% discount on any cheese purchased in the store between Feb. 11-18. And as if that isn't enough good news, the couple is expecting a new little cheese lover to join their family in mid-May!
Blue Bell's newest flavor was a big hit around the office last week. Rocky Mountain Road is a rich, dark chocolate ice cream full of dark-chocolate-coated pecans, white-chocolate-coated almonds, and roasted walnuts in a marshmallow-cream swirl. The nutty take on Rocky Road was originally developed for Blue Bell's entry into the Colorado regional market, but it's proven so popular, it's now distributed companywide. Look for dark-blue half-gallons with snow-capped mountains on the carton.
The owners of Austin's nationally famous and übersuccessful Uchi expand into the fast-paced Houston restaurant market when their second Uchi location opens this week at 904 Westheimer Rd. We're told the new spot offers signature dishes from both Uchi and Uchiko, under the direction of chef de cuisine Kaz Edwards and pastry chef Monica Glenn, both longtime employees at the local mother ship. On the home front, rumor has it Uchiko chef Paul Qui is gonna win the whole shootin' match on Top Chef: Texas. Considering the actual competition was completed last summer, I hope Uchiko owners were smart enough to offer him a piece of the restaurant before the finals.
I really don't have a team in the fight at this weekend's Super Bowl, but I can suggest some tasty Texas products to enjoy along with the game. Culinary Cowgirl's new, all-natural Queso Blanco dip ($6.99 at Whole Foods) is delightfully creamy with fresh roasted serrano and Anaheim chiles, chunks of tomato, and a signature spice blend that combine to offer medium heat. I'd suggest pairing it with some low-sodium, low-calorie Burnt Orange Texas Salsa (at stores all over Texas) and a selection of Beanitos corn- and gluten-free chips for a somewhat healthier game day repast.
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