Vista's New Brews, H-E-B's Celeb-Packed Grill, Mama Kong's Piggy Wings, 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 and multivalent culinary scene, as wrangled from numerous PR releases, official posts, words on the digital street, and even the occasional (verified) IRL eavesdroppings.

Yes, it’s your Food News Buffet for the first week of July 2021:

The brewski that is true, see?

July Fourth is coming up faster’n a gang of righteous American rebels running to slaughter King George’s redcoats, and so we’ve got some event and merch recos for you right here, and right here, and of course this is also relevant, foodwise: Vista Brewing out in Driftwood is releasing two new beers for the holiday weekend – a session IPA called “Home of the Brave” and an American lager named, of course, “Land of the Free.” These will be available at the brewery and the Hill Country Galleria, starting on July 1 … And, tangentially, Independence Brewing recently unleashed its new hazy IPA, “Pure Stoke,” which is “bouyed by the ebb and flow of tropical New Zealand hops” …

(Might wanna stock up on some premium tea for the long hot months ahead, too, right? Note that the flavor-mongering aficionados at Zhi Tea have been running some excellent sales lately, and they’re never steered us wrong, beveragewise …)

H-E-B is supercharging the country’s birthday early this year, with a Grilling Open livestream – available via the H-E-B Facebook and YouTube channels – featuring 12 full hours of grilling tips, cooking techniques, recipes, and more drool-worthy content, spiced by a dozen Texas celebs (including Camila Alves McConaughey, Alex Bregman, Nastia Lutkin, Randy Rodgers Band, the Houston Outlaws players, Austin FC players, Aaron Watson, and more) offering tips and tricks from their backyards as they grill up holiday delectables of their own. That’ll be on Thu., July 1, 8am-8pm, btw …

And, oh! Parents! Kids will eat free on Independence Day! They’ll do that at all Freebirds World Burrito locations, anyway – where the purchase of an adult entrée will also conjure a meal, gratis, from the so-called Weebirds menu for children …

Mama Kong's Pork-Stuffed Chicken Wings? Oh! Yes, please!

Still, there is a day before July 4th, isn’t there? And that’s … *does some quick figurin’ with a calculator app* … why, that’s … July 3rd? Yes! It’s this coming Saturday, in fact – which is when local culinary champions Mama Kong will debut a series of pop-ups featuring pork-stuffed chicken wings. Note: “Each chicken wing is deboned by hand, stuffed with seasoned pork, and then deep fried.” And the first pop-up featuring these labor-intensive Cambodian delicacies from Mama Kong will be at Kitty Cohen’s excellent Eastside club, from noon until they’re sold out …

And – you know what's really great on the weekend of the Fourth, if the sun is somewhat less terrifying than it usually is (maybe because it's working an extra shift on the Pacific Northwest atm)? Picnics! Picnics is great! And we reckon there's not much better, picnicwise, than cold and tasty chicken salad. And you know where to get a whole bunch of different kinds of that, right? You know about Austin's own Chicken Salad Shoppe on Burnet, right? Ooooh, baby, you're welcome.

Lick x Tiny Pies = Lemon Lime Meringue ice cream, FTW

But July isn’t only when the U.S. celebrates having said, at some point, “Taste my patriotically rough-hewn boot, you pasty-faced, mutton-fed oppressors!” No, it’s also National Ice Cream Month. Which is why Lick Honest Ice Creams and Tiny Pies have joined forces to launch a stunning new flavor, serving up decadent nostalgia in each tangy bite of their Lemon Lime Meringue Pie ice cream – available by the scoop, pint, or half pint for the entirety of July, at all locations of both stores – or via the Goldbelly app. Bonus: A portion of the proceeds from this citrus-forward treat will go to Ronald McDonald House Charities chapters in Central Texas and San Antonio …

Meanwhile, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams will be fighting the summer’s heat with an array of new flavor releases in addition to their regular menu of yum – novelties you can get online or at, say, their popular SoCo location (208 S. Congress): Rocket Pop (drops July 8); Mango Cheesecake Swirl (July 15); Orange Freeze (July 22); High Five Candy Bar (July 29); and Golden Nectar (Aug. 6). And that last one? The Golden Nectar? They say it tastes a lot like a chilled summer chai, mmmmmmmm, and is flecked with bits of aerated toffee …

And you know those hunger-busting, paper-wrapped sammiches, those Antone’s Famous Po’ Boys, that you can find at the legendary nightclub itself, and at local H-E-Bs and other worthy places? You can also find them at the airport now, with the ABIA boasting three new locations of Antone’s po’ boy outlets, featuring those palate-pleasing parcels of roast beef, the pork-forward Piggy, that tasty tuna salad goodness, and more …

We heralded some beer above (as if we were one one-hundredth of an Eric Puga) and we shouted out our favorite tea company. But what about wine? Here’s some definitely Texas news on that front: The Texas Wine Growers association, “a leader in the movement of honest labeling,” is celebrating the recently passed law that provides new regulations for the labeling of wine produced in Texas. Previously, a wine could be labeled as Texas wine as long as at least 75% of the grapes used in the bottle came from somewhere within the state, even with the remaining 25% coming from outside of the state. That still holds true, but the new law, which goes into effect on September 1, requires any label that includes a county, American Viticultural Area (AVA), or vineyard marker must follow more stringent requirements – with the county label meaning that 75% of the grapes must come from within that county (and the remaining 25% from somewhere in Texas); the AVA label meaning that 85% of the grapes must come from within that AVA (and the remaining 15% from somewhere in Texas); and the vineyard designation meaning 95% of the grapes must come from that vineyard (and the remaining 5% from somewhere in Texas). Get it? And all that math’s making you thirsty? Suggestion: Go buy some Texas wine.

OK. Now, citizen – eat as well as you can, tip like it’s going out of style, and 86 everything but kindness.

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