Sweetgreen’s on the Drag, Carne Lenta is Slow Good, Huckleberry Visits Vista, Fowl Mouth Is Making Us Cry

All the news that's fit to get your taste buds quivering

Here’s a taste of what’s happening foodwise in town in this last week of December, as the virus-riddled shitshow of 2020 comes to a close. Here’s informative tidbits wrangled from numerous PR releases, official posts, words on the digital street, and even the occasional (verified) IRL eavesdropping.

Huckleberry x Vista Brewing, FTW

Sweetgreen – the L.A.-based fast casual restaurant chain that started in Washington, DC, back in 2007 – has opened the newest outpost of its salad-centric succulence on the Drag. That storied stretch within the busy UT campus is an appropriate place, we reckon, to feature such popular plant-based provender and to include a local nod with interior wallpapers by Austin’s own Will Bryant. Also: “The restaurant opens in compliance with the Texas government’s social distancing guidelines for eateries, and will also follow sweetgreen’s new safety standards, including mandatory face masks, elevated sanitation schedules, dedicated concierges to ensure safety compliance, and more.” Which, yeah, we’ll see how all that works out – as with all eateries in These Unprecedented Times™.

So we made it out to Smithville this past weekend, to the new Carne Lenta BBQ joint and butcher shop (with its adjacent full-service bar) in the Vasek Garage building, to check out their Grand Opening shindig. And are those slow-cooked vittles worthy of sounding a foodie cheer about? Long story short, definitely – and, in fact, we’ll have more reportage about it soon, because what Simon Madera and Tony Olvera and associates are doing out there with barbecue and smoking is aces, friend, solid aces.

OMG, what is this, some kind of culinary polygamy going on? *clutches pearls* We mean, chef Davis Turner’s acclaimed Huckleberry food truck is permanently stationed at Circle Brewing over where the Austin FC stadium’s going up, right? But now we hear that, oh my, the seafood maestro’s going to be doing a pop-up dinner at Vista Brewing out in Driftwood on New Year’s Day, from noon to 6pm! And the Vista folks will be offering $1 off draft pours of their Hensel Helles Lager. And, you know, citizen: Gasoline is real inexpensive right now …

Speaking of New Year’s Day and food trucks, the Far Out Lounge’s resident Fowl Mouth nom-mobile will not be featuring its regular menu on that day. Which is something almost worth weeping about, tell you what. Except that what Fowl Mouth will be offering instead is herbed porchetta served with black eyed peas, collard greens, caramelized onions, and cornbread muffins, at $15 a plate – and now our tears are tears of joy.

Since we’ve so obviously strayed into New Year’s territory here, please know that (in addition to our Christmas dinner options that are probably sold out by now) we’ve got a brief round-up of New Year’s Feasts right here for you, in case you wanna leave that eve’s cooking to somebody else – especially because, in this town, that somebody else is likely to be a world-class chef.

And now we go to gather with our extended family (via Zoom, of course, because it’s kind of funny if grandma gets run over by a reindeer, sure, but not so much if she dies because we inadvertantly gave her the ‘ronas) and we wish you and yours the best of eating, and health, and less bad craziness in general in 2021. Huzzah!


The Best of Austin: Restaurants ballot is here! Nominations can be made now through Monday, July 18, at midnight. Vote now at vote.austinchronicle.com.

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