Abbott Don't Care, Real Fish and Faux, Crave Improves Pville, Everybody Requests Freebirds

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

It’s so reassuring to know, if you’re a food-service worker in the great we-don’t-need-no-gotdamn-federal-regulations state of Texas, that the governor’s got your back and wants only what’s best for you, right?

Casa Walton, where Osome's 17-course sushi pop-up awaits you

Um, no, wait: We seem to have gotten that … totally wrong? Because wasn’t there something about – oh, right:

The Governor of Texas has rescinded the statewide mask mandate and will allow businesses to be 100% open.

Oh, Jesus

*takes deep breath, suppresses rage, donates money to anything that’s not Republican*

Okay, then. Let’s, ah, let's try to keep going with what we’d wrangled before the above news dropped …

Well-funded sushi lovers, this one’s for you. Sushi lovers, because there’s a 17-course omakase pop-up from the excellent chefs of Osome – they’ll be featuring premium fish from Japanese fish markets Toyosu and Fukuoka, aged fishes, imported beef raised in Miyazaki Prefecture, and Australian bred wagyu – and it’s going for four days (March 3-6) at Casa Walton on the Eastside. And well-funded, because tickets are $225 each. But then, good sushi is always at a premium, isn’t it? And you know Osome founders Michael Carranza and John Gocong honed their prodigious skills at Uchi, Musashino, and She’s Not Here – so you’re aware of the level of talent involved in this night of itamae splendor and, yeah, better grab a ticket while you can.

Oh, but maybe fish isn’t your thing? Or it would be your thing, because you used to love eating some tuna, back in the day, but now you’re a vegetarian or a vegan for some reason that … probably makes perfect sense, actually. Well, then you need to know that two Austin plant-based companies, Good Catch and The Beer Plant, have teamed up to bring us plant-based, deli-style tuna salad via the Tellus Joe eatery inside that same Beer Plant. This tasty mess of faux-piscine goodness is anchored by the “tuna” created by Good Catch’s co-founders Derek and Chad Sarno and is made from their “proprietary six-legume blend of peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy, fava beans and navy beans, to deliver protein and a texture that resembles the exact flakiness of seafood without the environmental impact.” We’d rather sit around the Beer Plant sipping their hoppy quaffs while eating this stuff, sure, because we’re still as social as we can be in these distanced times; but, check it out: This new tuna salad is (as of … now) also available in Whole Foods Market stores throughout California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington. (We don’t see Texas on that list, no. Tsk.)

Speaking of things vegan, Chop Chop, Austin’s deliver-it-right-to-you powerhouse of authentic street-style noodle cups, is gearing up to present their new line of vegan noms. When we say “to present,” we mean there’s rumors of a pop-up dinner coming to South Congress’ Neighborhood Goods shop in the next few weeks – and we’ll let you know more when we know more.

Meanwhile, as Master Pancake likes to say, back in Pflugerville … a new Crave Hot Dog & Barbecue joint has just opened, up there near the Gattis School Road and Texas 130 interchange, and of course the place is serving up those jumbo hotdogs with loaded toppings, jumbo wings, BBQ plates, and sandwiches (with sides like chili cheese fries, sweet corn nuggets, and mac-n-cheese). But what’s got us especially happy is their serve-it-yourself tap wall – 18 taps that include craft beer, ciders, and seltzer – utilizing the cunning PourMyBeer technology that’s served Wanderlust so well. This new P-ville location is only the seventh bricks-and-mortar Crave in the whole country, founder Samantha Riccione tells us, but we reckon, mmmmmm, there’ll be more.

Oh, you like beer, too? How about booze? We’ve got another batch of great news about all that online for you right now – see our Booze News & Views post for a wee dram of what’s happening there.

Been a lot of community support going on in the past couple of weeks – and we noted some of those massive outpourings of effort and generosity in our last issue – but we wanted to follow up with a nod to Freebirds World Burrito, who’ve been delivering more than 500 meals of their popular burritos and bowls to UT Health Austin frontline staff and volunteers who are administering the COVID-19 vaccine locally. And Freebirds is paying their employees up to four hours of regular wages to get vaccinated. Yes, it’s moves like this that are helping more and more citizens say, basically, “Fuck you, ’ronas!”

Fight the (idiots in) power: Keep your masks on. We’re in the home stretch with this pandemic, sure – but it ain’t over yet.

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