Siete's New Mercado, Desert Door's Twisted Cocktails, Indie Brewing's Song Contest, ZaZa's Springtime Pizzazz, 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 March, as wrangled from numerous PR releases, official posts, words on the digital street, and even the occasional (verified) IRL eavesdroppings …

It's yours for a song.

We've got more information on Saturday’s impressive, music-abetted Drive-Through Mercado from the flavor-forward folks at Siete Family Foods, and that info is right here

Know ye, citizens, that Desert Door Sotol – that local company whose bottles are filled with spirits that are, we’ve heard, as pleasing to the palate as the packaging is to the eyes – is partnering with Twisted Alchemy, the cold-pressed juice company whose beverages are designed for mixology marvels, to present a Texas-inspired cocktail hour on Instagram (Thu., March 25, 6-7pm). Attendees can learn how to craft the Matadoor and a Watermelon River Rita, two of Desert Door's signature spring cocktails, by registering and purchasing the needed ingredients here – and joining the thirst-slaking event from the comfort of your own home. Note: Getcher goods ordered by Monday, March 22, in order to receive them in time for the class …

Independence Brewing Company – that woman-owned bastion of beer-based excellence on the Southeast side – yes, the same place that’s got the excellent Killa Wasi food truck in its welcoming lot – is looking for the perfect Texas theme song for their Native Texan Pilsner. And, listen, there’s a $1,000 cash prize and a free livestream session with 512 Studios and a year's supply of Native Texan for the winner. (Rumors of a romantic date with the Chronicle’s beer guru, Eric Puga, are fake news and not part of the deal; the man’s monogamous and happily married, tyvm.) The deadline for song submission is May 1, and the link for that is right here

Yes, everybody’s buzzing about the Marriott Downtown that’s now completely open with a compelling variety of dining and drinking options, and how posh the whole thing is … and that makes perfect sense. Hell, we heralded (albeit with a bittersweet note) its arrival in this column last week. But don’t let’s forget about Hotel ZaZa, OK? Hotel ZaZa, right there at 400 Lavaca, where once your reporter (and that Tim Doyle fellow) was feted among the media guests and hangers-on, by way of a look-what-we-can-do adventure in the Before Times; and where, now, if you’re in search of some hotel finery and local good times – a well-made drink, a quick bite, a pool day, or an entire weekend getaway – you’ll be like, “Oh, this is what I was looking for!” as you relax into a bit of indulgent, luxurious downtime that, listen, you totally deserve. Bonus: ZaZa’s got new stayover packages, amenities, and dining specials just in time for spring …

Glad to note that Bao’d Up, chef Ting Lin’s local company that specializes in steamed buns filled with all manner of tasty insides, has opened its fourth location (at 1920 E. Riverside) and is ready to provide you with an array of grab-and-go comfort food from that venue as well. (What’s that? “Actually, Bao’d has five locations.” Well, sure, Poindexter – but we weren’t counting the one at Kitchen United Mix, OK? Because ghost kitchen, see? Because we were considering just the standalone stores. Maybe we’re biased, but also, there are almost too many worthwhile options in that Burnet Road-based Mix, aren’t there? Oh, tyranny of choice! And that kitchen is also dangerously close to where Vanilla Orchid Catering runs their Chicken Salad Shoppe, and if we get anywhere near that Shoppe, its amazing menu of all things cold and chickeny draws us in with a delicious, irresistible gravity) …

Yippee-ki-yay! Even though Rodeo Austin can’t take place this year, Frost Bank is honoring the spirit of that spectacular Texas event with a drive-through, socially distanced, Chuck Wagon Lunch at their Lake Travis Financial Center (12532 FM 2244, out in Bee Cave) on Fri., March 26, 11am-1:30pm. Yes, it’s a free lunch from those financial people, replete with pot roast, mashed potatoes & gravy, beans, biscuit, and peach cobbler – and a fiddler playing, live, right there. Time to cowboy up and grab a mess o’ mighty fine grub, we reckon …

This is a just a bit early, too, but for those celebrating Passover later this month, know that the Mediterranean restaurant Aba on Music Lane is offering a special menu on Sat., March 27, and Sun., March 28, for dine-in, carry-out, or delivery. The Passover to-go menu includes classic hummus with house-made matzo and crudite; parmesan, potato & brussels sprout latkes; matzo ball soup; village salad; braised short rib; za'atar roasted chicken; and flourless chocolate tahini tart. Did I say “this is just a bit early,” back there? Considering this feast is available for $48.95 per person and there isn’t an infinite amount of this delicious stuff, it’s probably not too early to plan your gonna-get-it strategy now. Note: Order one day prior (by 3pm) for pick-up and delivery between 11am-4pm on March 27 or 28 …

Now y'all keep your stylish masks on & watch out for those 'ronas …

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