We've got a lightning round of food news to end the holiday season! Fans of Jodi Elliott's pastries were disappointed to learn that her deal to take over the empty La Boîte spaces isn't going to work out, but the talented pastry chef assures us she intends to have a shop of her own in 2013. Look for more bake sales in the new year to help fund her search for just the right retail spot.
A former manager from Ruta Maya's late, lamented Penn Field location has taken over the SoCo To Go trailer in the Bouldin Creek Food Park (1209 S. First) and is operating Ruta Maya eSpress as a licensee. The new spot opens at 6am weekdays and 7am on weekends, serving the delectable coffee for which Ruta Maya has always been loved, as well as organic and gluten-free meals made from scratch. Plans are underway to revive Ruta Maya's open mic, music, and spoken word programming in the open-air seating area overlooking Bouldin Creek. See a calendar of events at www.facebook.com/RutaMayaCafeEvents.
Chefs John Bates and Brandon Martinez are rebranding their Noble Pig enterprise as Noble Sandwich Co. as a prelude to the expansion plans they have for the coming year. "The new logo and brand is fresh, and we feel it represents where we are right now and where we want to go," Bates says. Keep an eye on www.noblesandwiches.com for announcements about online to-go ordering and a second location, projected for summer 2013.
Award-winning mixologist Marcelo Nascimento has developed a new cocktail program called Tequila Underground for Tacos and Tequila (507 Pressler). Nascimento will continue to be behind the bar on Wednesdays from 6-9pm through December, and will then move to Thursdays in January, whipping up $6 custom cocktails with tequila and mescal.
Out at the lake, the Uncle Billy's Brew & Que outlet at Oasis, Texas, closed after Thanksgiving, and it's unclear whether or not they will reopen. The scenic rooftop patio is a pleasant venue for live music, but the restaurant never really seemed to catch on. Just down the road, Sobani Kitchen, Bar, and Patio (1700 RR 620 N.) has reopened after a remodel with a new chef and a new menu, offering what they call American food with a Japanese influence.
No sooner had our MM Pack raved about his food at Hugo's Restaurant y Tequila Bar (300 S. Lamar) than we heard that chef Tyler Johnson had left to create a new eatery Downtown. Micheladas Cafe y Cantina (333 E. Second) is now open with a very inviting Tex-Mex menu, plenty of cocktails, and a dog-friendly patio.
Contigo (2027 Anchor) co-owner Ben Edgerton is the subject of one of a series of short documentary films featuring Austinites who "personify the HELM Boots spirit through hard work and creatively driven lives," created by director Ryan Scheer. Look for it at www.vimeo.com/50250720.
Based on notices I've received about 30th anniversary celebrations this fall, I'm reminded that the fall of 1982 was also an exciting time for local restaurants. Happy anniversary to both Hyde Park Bar & Grill (4206 Duval; 4521 Westgate Blvd.) and Las Palomas (3201 Bee Caves Rd. #122).
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