LeRoy & Lewis x Huckleberry, Easy Tiger Returns to Downtown, Philanthropy Rules, OMG 4th Tap Brewing, and More

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

Here’s some of what’s happening in Austin’s culinary scene during this third week of January.

Yes, it’s your Food News Buffet, as wrangled from numerous PR releases, official posts, words on the digital street, and even the occasional (verified) IRL eavesdroppings.

Hot dog! What LeRoy & Lewis and Huckleberry hath wrought!

Wasn’t it only yesterday that LeRoy & Lewis, those barbecue wizards, came out of nowhere (that’s what it seemed like at the time) and rocketed to the top o’ the local BBQ charts with their excellent slow-cooked meat-mongery? But, well, here they are – and the city’s Landscape of ’Cue is all the better for it. And now? Oh my: Leroy & Lewis is teaming with the seafood virtuosi at Huckleberry for a five-day-only hot dog collaboration. Chefs Evan LeRoy and Davis Turner have created their own takes on shrimp-and-pork sausage, each made with Gulf Coast shrimp, Peaceful Pork, and a spice blend. Next, each food truck will be offering their own hot dog made with the limited-edition sausage. Huckleberry’s Dockside Dog ($10) is served on a challah bun with escabeche and beer mustard, topped with cilantro, green onions, and papalo. LeRoy & Lewis’ Shrimp-cago Dog ($10) comes with with celery salt, green relish, sport peppers, pickle, onion, mustard, and tomato. Note: This unique treat will be available Jan. 20-24. Bonus: There’s an Instagram promotion that could snag you a $25 gift card from both trucks.

Easy Tiger, the popular bakery empire that closed its original Downtown location on Sixth Street earlier this year, will be opening a new outpost at 1501 East Seventh in February. They’ll have all their usual (read: extraordinary) artisanal bread and pastry offerings, and those ginormous pretzels, signature sandwiches, and craft beer and cocktails – and 15,000-square-feet of outdoor space to enjoy ‘em in. The new place might be, we daresay, even better than the original location. (Is this another indication that 2021 won’t be quite the raging dumpster fire that last year was? Stay tuned as national recovery intensifies.)

You know what’s good? Philanthropy. You know what news we especially like to report? Philanthropy. This week, Austin ISD and the nonprofit Austin Ed Fund reached a big milestone: Providing one million meals for caregivers since the program began in May. Local restaurant partners include Henbit (of Emmer and Rye), Easy Tiger, and the Good Work Austin restaurants L'Oca d'Oro, Colleen's Kitchen, Contigo, Rosedale Kitchen, and Hillside Pharmacy – all working provide meals to area students and their caregivers. As families continue to navigate an unpredictable school year amid a pandemic, Austin Public Health has amended the current agreement with the Austin Ed Fund to provide $3.9 million to support caregiver meals through September 2021. These funds will support the preparation of 780,000 more meals for caregivers, to be distributed along with student meals at AISD's curbside distribution sites.

Speaking of funding, the Austin Food & Wine Alliance has awarded seven Central Texas culinary innovators more than 30 grand to help them realize their dreams. (This is in addition to the $14,000 in COVID-19 relief they distributed in June of last year.) And who are these seven organizations? To Taste Culinary Nutrition. Free Lunch. Wine for the People. Tamale Addiction. Distant Relatives. Madhu Chocolate. And Li'l Nonna’s. The Alliance’s grant program is the first in the nation to provide funding to support culinary innovation that contributes to the local community. Funds support projects initiated by chefs, farmers, vintners, brewers, distillers, artisan producers, food-focused nonprofits, and educational groups.

Okay, what else? The El Chilito outpost on Seventh is closing, but the other El Chilitos (and the acclaimed El Chile and El Alma restaurants) will continue doing that excellent thing they do … The arts-loving 4th Tap Brewing Co-op is collaborating with chef Bob Somsith of the SXSE (pronounced “sek-see”) food truck for another series of multicourse Laotian meals paired with 4th Tap quaffs (and we’ll have a full report on the continuing series soon) … Abby Jane Bakeshop is opening in the Barton Springs Mill building on the grounds of Treaty Oak Distilling, which kind of means it’s like Heaven itself got an upgradeSalt & Time, those salumi-happy butchers, not satisfied with brightening Republic Square with a rockin’ sandwich outpost, not resting while running their new Butcher’s Burger service, they’re opening a Wine Shop next door to their original building on Seventh … Faraday’s Kitchen out in Bee Cave has a new barbecue class instructor – chef Kareem El-Ghayesh, who left a career in banking in Egypt years ago to dive fully into his Texas 'cue obsession – who’ll teach you how to turn brisket into something that’ll give your taste buds an orgasm, pretty much … TLC Austin in the Lamar Union is (right now!) celebrating their third birthday with a special $3 dine-in menu through Jan. 21: Get you a palate-pleasing Texas Collins, a three-oyster plate, and a mess o’ hushpuppies, for just $3 each … and the Far Out Lounge is staging a Craft Market on the last Saturday every month, turning their popular parking lot into a sort of local IRL Etsy surrounded by some of the best food trucks anywhere …

Now eat as healthy as you can, citizen – and always tip big – and watch out for those ‘ronas!

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