Musical Fajitas, Mama Fried Papas, Les Dames Are Recruiting, El Alma Turns 10, and More

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

Here’s some of what’s happening in Austin’s vast culinary scene, as the pandemic continues to fade (at least for those who’ve been vaccinated) and everything begins to open up again. Yes, citizen, it’s your Food News Buffet for the fourth week of June 2021 …

No bird is the word: Lucas Bradbury's Project Pollo brings faux-chicken goodness to battle Big Poultry

You know Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill is already closing their recently opened Arboretum venue, right? Well, they are. Details as to precisely why remain unrevealed at press time, but they are. And but you know they’ll be opening another store out in Avery Ranch this fall, yes? Because that’s also true. What’s more important right now, though, is that the company’s new and tasty spin-off called Woo Woo Burgers, working out of that fine place of theirs on West Sixth, is running a buy-one-get-one-free introductory deal through the end of this month. Yeah, that’s a solid win. Suggestion: Buy a burger for yourself and treat a hungry friend …

Is some gung-ho vegan trying to give the bird the bird? “Our goal is to open 100 stores by 2024,” says Lucas Bradbury, owner of the plant-based Project Pollo that debuted its second faux-chicken-focused restaurant at 2438 Anderson this week. “We want to put Chick-fil-A out of business,” says the scrappy entrepreneur. Sounds like an admirable goal to us, frankly, and – with a scratch-made menu that offers delicious vegan "chicken" sandwiches, wraps, and strips, as well as plenty of yummy sides (crispy taters smothered in cashew queso, mac ’n’ cheese, and so on) – we reckon the man just might have a chance …

So there’s another new company, founded last year by chef Breck McBride: Comal Fajita House, specializing in live-fire-cooked fajita meat, vacuum-packed and ready to serve in just 15 minutes. Listen: “McBride sources USDA Choice black angus, bavette and organic heirloom chicken breast, from ranches like 44 Farms and Cooks Venture Farms. All meats are raised without hormones and antibiotics, the beef and chicken are seasoned with Comal’s house-made dry rub, then smoked over post oak wood for hours before being seared on a blazing steel plancha to get the perfect char.” (The PR release also wants us to tell everyone that Texas folk duo Jamestown Revival are on the board of advisors, but we can’t imagine why that makes any culinary difference. It’s a headscratcher, for real. Like, conversely, would we experience greater enjoyment of the lamentations of John Dowland if we learned that Anthony Bourdain had been a big fan of that 17th-century lutenist, too? Still, both of those dudes are dead, and we’re hella glad the Jamestown boys are still alive, so, um, yeah – fajitas!) Note: Get the goods online via the Comal website or pick ‘em up at 1108 E. 12th, Tue.-Sat., noon-6pm …

For the second year in a row, Wheatsville Co-op is celebrating Pride Month by choosing a local LGBTQ+ organization to be the recipient of their Pride Pin sale. This year they've selected allgo, a group that helps queer people of color by building, educating, and mobilizing communities toward a just and equitable society. The beautiful enamel pins will be for sale at Wheatsville registers through July, with 100% of the proceeds going to allgo. Bonus: Rainbow donuts and other baked goods available, too …

Bakery Lorraine’s Bar á Vins has joined with the Texas-based winery Soto Vino for a Meet the Makers party at the bakery’s Domain venue (11600 Rock Rose) on Sat., June 26, 11am-2pm; it’s a free event wherein you can try wine samples, nom delicious snacks, enjoy what the DJ is spinning, and ask the attending Soto Vino rep all your wine questions …

If we told you that there’s a new food truck called Mama Fried eventually bringing a plethora of loaded French-fried tater plates to South Austin’s popular Armadillo Den hangout spot (at 10106 Menchaca Rd.), that alone might be enough to perk you up just a skosh, right? If we tell you that those fries can be ordered in crinkle, curly, or waffle versions and that the concept’s brought to you by the folks responsible for the barbecue badassery of LeRoy & Lewis, then you’ll understand why it’s kind of a big deal – as brightly heralded by the Helms Workshop designs for the joint. Note: Mama Fried will open on Thursday, July 15, as if to celebrate the birthday of a certain Kelly Sue DeConnick (but we reckon that’s mere, you know, coincidence) …

Speaking of fierce women, the Austin chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier is recruiting new members to join their organization, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the work of and providing educational and professional development opportunities for exceptional women in the culinary, hospitality, and beverage industries. Women with at least five years’ experience in the industry and who exhibit leadership and excellence in their field are invited to apply. Note: The Austin chapter currently has 120-plus members and has awarded more than $140,000 in scholarships, continuing education stipends, and community grants. If you want more information about applying to join this estimable group – or you know someone who’d do well to apply – of course you’ll click to Les Dames’ website

Want to try some local plant-based burgers that are made from scratch, from original recipes featuring fermented lentils, jackfruit, beets, and more? Then you’ll want to head over to Moontower Cider Co. (1916 Tillery) on Saturdays from 4-9pm, because that’s when chef Maxwell Shoup’s Amanita Burgers pop-up supercharges the venue with yummy vegan hunger-busters. Note: Shoup worked for Yoshi Okai at Otoko for a long stretch of time, so we figure he knows what’s up foodwise …

Booze news: Fierce Whiskers Distillery, a new Austin distillery and tasting room set to open later this summer, is captained by co-founders and native Texans Tri Vo and Tim Penney; we tell you this now because, when they’re ready for action with their Texas Tight Cut expressions at 5333 Fleming Court, we’ll tell you again – and your whiskey-loving pump will already be primed. Ah, so to speak, yes …

Image by Madison Boudreaux/David Bates

Whiskey’s fine, but how about some wine? How about some of William Chris VineyardsTexas Red Blend, for instance, released for the winery’s Wanderer Series Relief Project II, with its mission of supporting and nourishing Texas families in need as they recover from the pandemic and the devastating Texas winter storms. This blend was created in collaboration with Emmer & Rye’s acclaimed sommelier Ali Schmidt, features 92% Cinsault and 8% Carignan from the Texas High Plains, and is “juicy and bright with generous strawberry and cherry notes and a silky texture.” Serving suggestion: Drink up, do good, and be merry …

In other gambits of local beverage-enhanced philanthropy, Blue Owl Brewing has unleashed its "Seltzers For Shelters," a hard seltzer created to raise awareness and give aid to those experiencing homelessness. That is to say: Blue Owl will donate 10% of sales from the first two batches of its tasty AF Mango & Peach Daiquiri and Mojito hard seltzers to Mobile Loaves & Fishes. This quixotic quaff’s available at the company’s tasting room now, and will be in stores across Austin this weekend …

And, quickly now: Choga Soondubu, the first restaurant in Austin specializing in (naturally) soondubu, a spicy Korean soft tofu soup, has launched a pop-up at Jjim BBQ (1100 S. Lamar), selling their bowls of brothy goodness from noon-3pm, Tue.-Fri.El Alma celebrates their 10th anniversary on Thursday (June 24) … Nolan Ryan’s Goodstock parties with beefy brilliance for their first anniversary in Round Rock on Saturday … That excellent Mediterranean club called Devil May Care is dishing up a sonically enhanced brunch with Canadian electronic duo Bob Moses this Sunday … and, meanwhile, out in Driftwood, Desert Door Sotol is getting their Tiki on

And, okay, yeah – there’s more to come, as ever, in the pages and screens of your free-but-not-cheap Austin Chronicle

But, for now: Y’all eat as well as you can, tip like it’s going out of style, and don’t be an asshole. :P


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle