What's cooking in the Food Lab? Creation, innovation, and the entrepreneurial spirit.
Austin's vibrant food scene will host two food-related conferences next weekend, both connected to the Austin Food Lab, a component of the Center for Sustainable Development at UT's School of Architecture. First is the LongHouse Food Revival, a Chautauqua-inspired gathering offering a "celebration of food, food thought, and food media in all its forms" addressing the issue of "telling food stories in a radically-altered media world." (That statement hooked me immediately!) The revival is presented by CookNScribble and the Austin Food Lab at Pine Street Station on Friday, Feb. 1. The multimedia Pop-Up Food Magazine will explore the business of telling food stories associated with the Tex-Mex diaspora, with food writer Elissa Altman, New York Times food columnist Molly O'Neill, syndicated columnist Gustavo Arellano, Foodways Texas co-founder Melissa Guerra, Austin-based bloggers Rachel and Logan Cooper of Boots in the Oven, writer and photographer Beatriz Terrazas, and Austin Internet cooking sensation Hilah Johnson. The program will be followed by a live-fire barbacoa feast prepared by South Texas pit master and artist Kiko Guerra and Austin chef Iliana de la Vega, owner of El Naranjo. For details and tickets, go to www.cooknscribble.com/longhouse. The revival evening is a component of the second annual Food, the City, and Innovation conference, a two-day round table meeting at the E.A. Smith building on the UT campus, Feb. 1-2. "We will have engaging conversations with the brightest minds from various fields to discuss the challenges we face in our food system. There's no better time than the present to attack the problems in our food system with creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial solutions," said Dr. Robyn Metcalfe, conference chair and director of the Food Lab. See more info at www.facebook.com/Foodandthecity2013.
In local news: Kudos to all the local winners in the recent Good Food Awards handed out in San Francisco. See our On the Range blog for details... East Side King at Hole in the Wall (2538 Guadalupe) welcomed a production crew from the Cooking Channel's Unique Eats this week, as did Easy Tiger (709 E. Sixth)... Doug Guller's ATX Brands announces the re-opening of another storied Entertainment District space: Chicago House (607 Trinity) will offer 20 rotating craft brew selections from around the country... We didn't make it to the grand opening of the new 24-hour coffee shop Buzz Mill (1505 Town Creek) on the south shore, but we're very curious about the new spot and its Blue Ox BBQ & Pancake Cabin that will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner... Although the Saturday brunch remains à la carte, El Mesón (2038 S. Lamar) is adding a $16 Sunday brunch buffet from 10am-2:30pm. Look for new items on both menus... The Willcott brothers at Texas French Bread (2900 Rio Grande) are beginning the improvements on their building, financed by the community-supported restaurant (CSR) offering they made in late 2012. Just check out the new coated concrete floor. Long-range plans call for technical improvements, building a new kitchen space, enlarging the bathrooms, creating an outdoor dining space in the garden, and adding a beer/wine license.