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Food-o-File

Slow food is no trivial pursuit

By Virginia B. Wood, Fri., Aug. 8, 2014

Cuvee Coffee Shop
Cuvee Coffee Shop

I'm really looking forward to the Slow Food Grub Trivia hosted by John Antonelli in the new location at Saengerrunde Hall (1607 San Jacinto) on Sunday, Aug. 17. This is always such a fun party, with cool prizes for the winners, plus refreshments from local restaurants, brewers, and distillers, and halftime entertainment from the Salt & Time butcher Bryan Butler. I'm determined to put together a team of Chronicle food writers to challenge teams from other media outlets.

The area near the corner of East Sixth and Chicon is booming with hospitality development. Look for a new Cuvee Coffee Shop (2000 E. Sixth) to open Aug. 11 with all manner of excellent coffee drinks, plus beer, wine, and their signature Black & Blue nitrogenated cold brew on tap, in addition to pastries from Walton's Fancy and Staple and meat and cheese plates courtesy of Antonelli's Cheese Shop. We're also looking forward to the opening of Gardner, the vegetable-focused sibling restaurant to Contigo, and the second outlet of Counter Cafe, which owner Debbie Davis reports will be twice as large as the original and offer patio seating. Will keep you posted on opening dates as they become clearer.

Another area seeing lots of hospitality activity is the stretch of Airport between 45th and East 53rd, with contractors busy working on the new homes of both Sala & Betty (5201 Airport) and Bun Belly (5001 Airport) while one of the abandoned convenience store corner locations is now surrounded by fencing, which usually signals imminent demolition. No word yet on when the new Omelettry (4631 Airport) is slated to complete the emerging restaurant row in that area.

Whole Foods has just announced that the Public Domain container bar (11920 Domain Dr.) in their Domain store is now open 6:30-8am daily, offering coffee, juices, pastries, and breakfast tacos – including a new taco made with pulled pork and kimchi which should start folks' days off with a big jolt of flavor.

The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas announced the distribution of more than $50,000 to four food- and wine-based Texas nonprofit organizations last week: Austin Food for Life, which works to create health care solutions for all members of the local food community; the Sustainable Food Center, an umbrella organization that operates several farmers' markets and offers various programs that support healthy food choices in the community; Texas A&M AgriLife Viticulture and Fruit Lab in Fredericksburg, which assists the Texas wine grape industry with research into pathogens that are detrimental to fruit crops; and the Texas Sommelier Association (TEXSOM), an organization that promotes public awareness of professional wine service as well as the education of future wine professionals. Congratulations to all the recipients.

Uchiko (4200 N. Lamar) implements a new vegetarian program with an à la carte vegetarian menu, a Monday sake social hour with price bargains on non-meat items, and a monthly 10-course omakase tasting menu made up of the greatest vegetarian hits from the regular menu as well as some new items. This sharable menu will be in the $160-180 price range and debuts sometime this month.

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