Cronut, schmonut: Meet the crobrio and the crognet!
There are updates on some of last week's news items. Just as soon we sent last week's column off to press, we discovered a new sign outside the empty restaurant building at 1209 E. Seventh. Look for a casual neighborhood bar and restaurant called the Hightower to take over the space, created by Chad Dolezal and Victor Farnsworth, both formerly of El Arbol. There was also a flurry of email activity over the weekend because a banner advertising Curra's restaurant was draped across the front of the long-abandoned Uptown Sports Bar (1200 E. Sixth). Curra's owner Jorge Garcia says the banner is there to promote his La Hipsta Traila which is parked on the grassy lot just behind the building, selling tacos and other popular Curra's dishes every day. Garcia did say he has a lease option on the cool old ghost club if and when it ever emerges from the estate lawsuit that's kept it empty for years.
We also got news last week about two local French pastry shops that are producing the first Austin versions of cronuts – although they can't be called that because the NYC baker who originated the pastry craze trademarked the name to protect his creation. However, chef Cesidio d'Andrea of Artisan Bistro (900 RR 620 South) in Lakeway whipped up some vanilla bean cream-filled crognets last week, much to the delight of his clientele. D'Andrea plans to offer the new delicacies for general sale on Saturdays or by special order with 48 hours' notice. Check with the restaurant before making the drive. Saturday morning, we enjoyed crobrios at La Pâtisserie by Luxe Sweets (602 W. Annie). Pastry chef Lezlie Gibbs came up with the croissant/brioche dough hybrid pastry which she deep fries and fills with vanilla pastry cream, topping them with a chocolate glaze or rolling them in cinnamon sugar. The substantial pastries cost $6 ($4 for a bag of six holes), but the shop is donating $1 to Urban Roots for each crobrio sold.
Had a great time at this year's Pay It Forward With Daniel Curtis, and while some of the food was disappointing, the atmosphere and the entertainment were the best ever. Chefs David Bull and Josh Watkins came up with the original idea for the fundraiser to support their friend Daniel Curtis after the diving accident that left him with a spinal cord injury. Now, all three of these remarkable young men host the annual party to raise money for the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation, adding another dimension to their abilities to serve the community. I was particularly impressed to hear that both Bull and Watkins attended auctioneering classes to hone their skills at up-selling the top auction packages. They did an impressive job and the event raised more than $55,000. Not a bad night's work!