The confluence of Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, and Chinese New Year over the next week offers plenty of opportunities for gustatory indulgences. Here are some ideas.
• Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has developed sexy new menu items and cocktails inspired by the film 50 Shades of Grey, which opens this weekend.
• Local chocolatiers Chocolaterie Tessa (7425 Burnet Rd.), Maggie Louise Confections (1017 E. Sixth), and Delysia Chocolatier (www.delysia.com) all have Valentine's Day collections.
• Crave Artisan Chocolate will be for sale at Mona Lisa's Closet (3703 Kerbey Ln.), and at chocolate and beer pairing events at Craft Pride (61 Rainey) and the Ginger Man (301 Lavaca) by reservation on Feb. 14.
• Check out Valentine's desserts from Coco Paloma Desserts and the Lovers Collection from the Chocolate Makers Studio at a Valentine's pop-up hosted by Coterie Market at West Elm (1011 W 5th) on Friday, Feb 13 at 10am.
• On Mardi Gras, Tuesday, Feb. 17, drop in to Drink.Well (207 E. 53rd) for traditional NOLA inspired cocktails or their signature King Cake twinkie. The guest who finds the baby in their twinkie gets a $25 gift card.
• Louisiana native Happy Abdelbaki will serve a decadently delicious multi-course Mardi Gras feast ($70.54) at the SWOOP House (3012 Gonzales) by reservation on Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 6:30pm.
• Kurt Knies of Stuffed Cajun Meat Market (5207 Brodie Ln. #125) invites folks to a Mardi Gras celebration that will include a costume contest and a second line parade around the restaurant complimented by the Cajun swamp rock of the Mighty Pelicans. Traditional Cajun cuisine and boiled crawfish will before sale. Tuesday, Feb. 17, 4-9pm.
• Get a sneak peak at the eagerly anticipated Launderette (2115 Holly) and make an important donation to the Austin Food and Wine Alliance Culinary Grant Program at the same time. Owners Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki will present a seated meal featuring a selection of dishes from their new eatery. Tickets are $200 at www.austinfoodwinealliance.org. Tuesday, Feb. 17, 7pm.
• Ronald Cheng invites guests to experience the traditional Chinese New Year dragon dance and firecracker display in the parking lot at Chinatown North (3407 Greystone) before a multi-course feast ($60) Wednesday, Feb. 18.
• Another round of chef and pastry chef news: Cafe Josie (1200 W. Sixth) owner Cody Taylor reports on the next step in the progress of the cozy west Austin restaurant. Taylor has bought out chef Brandon Fuller, who is moving on to pursue other culinary opportunities. Le Cordon Bleu grad and longtime cafe cook Todd Havers has been promoted to executive chef, wine buyer Nathan Etheredge will take over the general manager position, and Taylor himself will be working more shifts in the kitchen. Look for Cafe Josie to resume their Wine Me Dine Me series in March and some beer pairing dinners are scheduled as well.
• Jacob Weaver will be leaving Asti soon to create his own restaurant, Juliet, this spring. Jeanise DeLeon, formerly of Gusto Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar, will be the new executive chef at Asti.
• Foreign and Domestic (306 E. 53rd) chef/ owner Ned Elliott tells us his new pastry chef is Siobhan Perstis, a young Scotswoman with a résumé that includes time spent working for chef Tom Kitchin at his Michelin starred The Kitchin Restaurant in Edinburgh. Perstis is adding new pastries to the morning coffee time lineup as well as to the weekend breakfast and she's developing new desserts for the dinner service. Look for Perstis to also resume Foreign and Domestic's popular weekend bake sales sometime soon.
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