Food-o-File: Weekend Lagniappe

A little extra Austin food news

Veracruz All Natural (photo by John Anderson)

Sometimes there is too much Austin food news to squeeze into the print edition of the Chronicle. Rather than wait a week, we've decided to give our readers a little bite of something extra.

• Chef and restaurateur Bryce Gilmore made big news this week with the announcement that his Barley Swine (2024 S. Lamar) will close when the new Barley on Burnet (6550 Burnet Rd) debuts in North Austin in the late fall. The original outlet will become a venue for private parties and special events through the end of 2016, so fans of the cozy spot should consider this the final countdown for dining there. The new version of the restaurant will offer twice the seating capacity, a patio, and a Chef's Garden Table, as well as a full bar. Gilmore says the expanded size will make it possible for him to support more area farmers and for he and his staff to create more self-sustainable pantry items for the kitchen and the bar using seasonal preserving techniques on locally-sourced ingredients. "If we can make it in house, we're going to. It's all part of how we'll grow as a restaurant," Gilmore explained in a press release.

• Sisters Reyna and Marisa Vazquez are the proprietors of the three wildly popular Veracruz All Natural local food trucks. The hard-working ladies got some impressive national television exposure on July 13. The Food Network program Top 5 Restaurants named their heavenly Migas Breakfast Taco as one of the top five best tacos in the country. This accolade certainly comes as no surprise to Austin taco aficionados, but it was great to see the ladies get their well-deserved props on TV. Check the Food Network schedule to catch a repeat airing of the episode.

• When Chronicle food editor Brandon Watson profiled the distillers of the new Crystal Creek Moonshine last year, Sam Wakefield and Shane Berber said that one aspect of their business model would be to support a charity called A Glimmer of Hope that fights poverty in Ethiopia. Wakefield recently advised us that the growth of their company is making it possible to underwrite the installation of a water well in rural Ethiopia this fall that will provide clean water to about 500 people. Great news!

Austin brunch lovers, here's a list of new options to check out.

Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen Downtown (800 W. Sixth) Reed Clemons' new Downtown outlet features a brunch menu to satisfy, whether you're hungry for eggs, chicken and waffles, kale salads, pasta, or a burger. They've got smoothies and shakes, a full complement of Lola Savannah coffee drinks, plus a full bar with brunch cocktails, wines, and local beer. Sat., & Sun., 10:30am-2:30pm.

• The recently relocated Rocco's Grill (12432 Bee Cave Rd.) has added Sunday brunch to their line up and enhanced the Italian menu with some more Austintatious brunch fare such as huevos rancheros, waffles and wings, and a chicken-fried tenderloin steak with gravy. Brunch cocktails will be available and there will sometimes be live music. Sundays, 10:30-am-2pm.

• The Corner Restaurant at the new JW Marriott (110 E. Second) in Downtown Austin is now serving weekend brunches with enticing menu items such as Pig & Monkey Bread with bacon and salted caramel Bourbon cream anglaise and Crab and Crawfish Eggs Benedict, in addition to brunch cocktails from their already popular bar. Sat., & Sun., 11am-3pm.

Gusto Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar (4800 Burnet Rd) has recently added an antipasti buffet to their brunch, featuring a large selection of classic Italian appetizer dishes to whet the appetite for entrees from the a la carte menu and desserts. They're also offering great deals on special brunch cocktails by the glass or carafe and 25% off on all bottles of wine. Sundays, 10am-3pm.

Empanadas from Liberty Kitchen Austin (photo by Photo by Lisa Gochman/ courtesy of Feed TX Restaurant Group)

Chili & Chilin: The 15 wineries along the Hill Country Wine Road 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg have teamed up with area restaurants to offer signature bowls of chili expertly paired with a different wine at each stop. Learn a lot about wine and food pairing in one afternoon. No tickets necessary, but tasting fees may apply at some stops. Saturday, July 18, noon-6pm.

Backyard Chicken Seminar: Boggy Creek farmer Carol Ann Sayle presents her annual seminar on keeping backyard chickens at the Natural Gardener (8648 Old Bee Canes Rd). Sunday, July 19, 9am-10am.

Riesling on the Green: Be sure to congratulate wine director Vilma Mazaite and interim executive chef Janina O'Leary of laV (1501 E. Seventh) about their recent spate of impressive national media coverage when attending this alfresco wine event. Enjoy 15-20 Rieslings paired with hors d'oeuvres for $25, plus tax & tip. Sun., July 19, 6-8pm.

Colombian Independence Day: Austin's new Liberty Kitchen (507 Pressler, #700) salutes Colombian independence by featuring beef and potato empanadas with pique sauce and heaping bowls of Mondongo Soup, a stew of pork, tripe, and chorizo from the West Andean range, as special menu items. Sun., July 20 - Sunday, July 27.

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