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The Culinary Institute of America brings Latin flavors to American kitchens

By Virginia B. Wood, Fri., Oct. 12, 2012

October is always the busiest month, with musical, artistic, charity, educational, and culinary events scheduled every day, it seems. This past week found longtime Chronicle writer MM Pack and I as guests at the Latin Flavors, American Kitchens conference, held on the campus of the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio. The CIA presents this annual conference to let restaurateurs from around the country learn methods of presenting authentic Latin American flavors in American restaurants. The last one of these events I attended was four years ago when the CIA Texas campus was in its infancy and the facilities were still incomplete. New additions, such as conference rooms with video-equipped demonstration kitchens and a live fire outdoor cooking area on the patio, were very impressive. Read more about our conference experiences in the On the Range blog this week.

On the local pizza front, now that the Mangia Chicago Stuffed Pizza bankruptcy has been settled, local investment group Cloud Cap plans to "revamp and refresh" Mangia locations at 8012 Mesa and Bergstrom Airport and to continue to operate them as the long-established popular local brand. Two other former Mangia locations owned by John Kinnaird of WhaleFund 1 were not affected by the bankruptcy and relaunched last week as the Pizza Bistro (2401 Lake Austin Blvd. and 12001 Burnet Rd.), with expanded Italian menus and full bars... Mark Roppolo is justifiably proud to announce that his shop was recently ranked No. 16 in America's top 35 pizza joints by the Daily Meal. Be sure to congratulate him when stopping by for a slice on the upstairs deck or booking a private party at Roppolo's in the historic three-story St. Charles building at 316 E. Sixth... Rosedale and Crestview neighbors are eagerly anticipating the opening of Pinthouse Pizza (4729 Burnet Rd.), a new brewpub and pizzeria scheduled to open later this month.

Tom's Tabooley (2928 Guadalupe) owners Tom and Brigid Abdenour marked 35 years in business this year with the expansion of their UT campus-area cafe and takeout shop to include a performance showcase called the Snug, offering Tom's distinctive Mediterranean specialties plus beer and wine, with nightly entertainment including music, comedy, spoken word, and open mic nights. Talk to Brigid about booking for private parties or meetings by calling 797-5739.

Parind Vora has announced that the new incarnation of his Restaurant Jezebel (800 W. Sixth) will open Oct. 31, offering prix-fixe four-course ($85) and seven-course ($125) tasting menus for dinner. The chic new spot has only eight tables and will require reservations and a jackets-only dress code for men. The more casual Bar Mirabeau, also on the ground floor of the new Cirrus Logic building, will serve breakfast and lunch on weekdays and a pajama brunch on weekends. Kitchens will be under the direction of chef Vora and chef de cuisine Bill McGrory, formerly of Taste Select Wines. This being Austin, the announcement of any kind of dress code is certainly generating some commentary. Based on a historical perspective, I can tell Vora that restaurateurs who sought to instruct Austin­ites on the proper way to dress for an evening out eventually came to regret it. But, who knows, maybe Austin has changed?

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