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Austin's DIY spirit invigorates the LongHouse Food Revival

By Virginia B. Wood, Fri., Feb. 8, 2013

The glorious weather made Austin the perfect setting for the LongHouse Food Revival hosted by Molly O'Neill's CookNScribble at Pine Street Station (1101 E. Fifth) last Friday night. An army of local volunteers headed up by Kristi Willis and Kate Payne turned the weathered old venue into a hip and hospitable space with some fabric panels, mood lighting, Mason jars of fresh herbs, and tables set with cloth napkins in canning jar lid holders. Guests were treated to Twisted X brews (and a fizzy homemade Tex-Mex cola, thank you!); margaritas from Paula's Texas Orange and Republic Tequila; tamales, salsas, and side dishes by Iliana de la Vega of El Naranjo; pit-roasted goat and beef prepared by Kiko Guerra; plus corn and flour tortillas from Margarita's Tortilla Factory. While I found the feast itself very satisfying, what appealed to me most on Friday's menu were the food stories shared by poet Liliana Valenzuela and writer Beatriz Terrazas, and the opportunity to learn more about the DIY attitude that's helping to make blogger Hilah Johnson a YouTube cooking sensation and fueling the food travel app developments of bloggers Rachel and Logan Cooper of Boots in the Oven. Hearing all of them speak reminded me of the Eighties when I was so determined to write about Texas food that I self-syndicated a newspaper column about it (called "At Home on the Range"), and I was also overwhelmed with nostalgia for the days when there was money and print space for our excellent team of contributing food writers to tell personal food stories based on memories. And of course, it did my heart good to hear New Yorker Molly O'Neill rave about what a great time she and her crew had exploring Austin's food community and how the hipster scene here "out-Brooklyns Brooklyn." Thanks to them all for sharing such a wonderful evening, and check out our On the Range blog for contributor Anna Toon's reactions to the Food, the City, and Innovation conference hosted simultaneously by UT's Food Lab.

The lovely weather also contributed to the successful opening weekend at Winflo Osteria (1315 W. Sixth), a new casual Italian neighborhood restaurant and Neapolitan-style pizzeria created by a group that includes husband-and-wife team Megan Dickson and John Pennington, formerly of Southside Flying Pizza... Cajun food lovers in the Rosedale neighborhood have ­heartily embraced Doug Slocombe's new Sambet's Cajun Road­side Cafe trailer now parked in front of a shopping center undergoing renovation (4801 Burnet Rd.). Although he's still getting things like a new website and printed menus together at this point, Slocombe has high hopes for the spot based on his first week of sales. He's offering gumbo, étouffée, red beans and rice, po'boys, and muffulettas from 11am until dark every day... Foodies with an affection for cured meats made their way to East Austin for the open house of the newly completed Salt & Time Butcher Shop and Salumeria (1912 E. Seventh), where the proprietors were selling housemade salumi as well as fresh cuts of meat... Also be sure to check our blog this week for everything there is to know about local Mardi Gras foods and celebrations.

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