Delicious Tamales, Local Foods, Cask Strength Bourbon, Texas Fine Wine, and Something New South of the River

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

Here's some of what's happening in Austin's culinary scene, as wrangled from numerous PR releases, words on the digital street, and even the occasional (verified) IRL eavesdroppings.

Yes, it’s your Food News Buffet for the last week of November in 2021.

Mmmmm, no wonder they're called Delicious Tamales

Reckon it makes sense, if what you sell is delicious tamales … makes sense to name your business Delicious Tamales, right? And now that San Antonio-based company, run by the mother-and-daughter team of Valerie Gonzalez and Herlinda Lopez-Wood, is opening its first Austin location (1931 E. Oltorf) this post-Thanksgiving week. “We’re proud of our legacy and of being San Antonio’s leading manufacturer of tamales,” says Lopez-Wood. “We sell more than two million every year – that’s about 70 dozen tamales produced every two minutes!” Math always makes our brain tell us to eat more tamales. Check out these Delicious ones, which can be ordered hot and ready-to-eat (or frozen for reheating later) …

That Local Foods outpost on Burnet Road is planning to open its permanent location in February of next year – on Second Street, in a Michael Hsu-designed emporium, with all their locally sourced goodness intact. After that, we reckon a Downtown dweller might eat well forever, just bouncing back and forth between that shop and Fareground

Not that there’s any paucity of options in Austin’s gung-ho urban core. Right? Wu Chow. Hestia. Parkside. Banger’s Sausage House. Péché. Arlo Grey. Group Therapy. And, oh –

Geraldine’s, that palace of posh noshing in the Hotel Van Zandt, continues its “Friendsgiving” cocktail menu through December, with drinks inspired by the NBC sitcom’s classic Thanksgiving episodes, with a dollar from each cocktail sold going to No Kid Hungry. Drink up for the kids – or for Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross

Okay, bourbon lover, check this out: Still Austin’s Cask Strength iteration, released in a limited edition that sold out completely in a matter of weeks? The one that all the whiskeyheads were pretty much raving about? Still Austin heard us. And now they’ve made that 118-proof Cask Strength a permanent part of their whiskey portfolio. You can find it at retails stores throughout Texas, and, soon enough, you’ll be able to ship bottles to friends via the company’s website …

His beard's not actually plaid, no; but Wes Dills' biscuits-and-gravy is good enough to make you believe anything

And, having mentioned Still Austin, we’re not gonna miss this opportunity to remind you that chef Wes Dills’ Bearded Baking Company is still on-site there in the Yard and dishing up one of the best brunch menus you’ll ever know. Seriously, the man’s biscuits-and-gravy is a thing of transcendent Southern beauty

Of course, it – life in general – isn’t all about whiskey all the time, though, right? No: Sometimes it’s about wine, too. And, especially as we’re smack dab in the midst of peak holiday season, we’re glad for the gifting potential of Texas Fine Wine’s 2021 Holiday Pack, a four-bottle wine bundle from four exceptional Texas wineries. Why not let those far-flung relatives and friends get a sample of just how good our local vintners can be? Bonus: Order by Dec. 8, and those wines will arrive in time for Christmas

Here's just an example of what Murph Willcott and his skilled kitchen offer at Texas French Bread

Speaking of good wine (and good food and good works), Texas French Bread will be closed on Thanksgiving but back to regular hours (and superlative dining options, with an expanded wine program) on the day after. If anything can replenish your weary soul during the consumer cataclysm that is Black Friday, it’s a visit to Murph Willcott’s local-focused bastion of culinary excellence …

Okay, being less vague about it this week, we happily note that Tso Chinese Delivery – the new “TsoCo” store at 2407 S. Congress – will open on Sat., Nov. 27, finally bringing the local company’s Chinese food, free delivery, and no-tipping policy into South Austin …

Not that there’s a paucity of nomming options ’round those neighborhoods, either …

Or in the liminal zone of not-so-South, not-at-all-North, Barton Springs Road, right? We mean, especially on Black Friday – and double-especially if you, as certain shinigami do, happen to love apples

Say, here’s an amusing holiday game you can play! Find some old Austin hippie-type this holiday season. Strike up a convo with them. With, you know, the sort of grayhaired native who’ll insist, with increasing fervor, that the whole city turned to shit soon after Les Amis closed and that nothing’s as good as it used to be. Ask that person point-blank: Isn’t the culinary scene in Austin so much better than it’s ever been? Aren’t these days, for all their other egregious failings, a veritable golden age of diverse gastronomy? If they say “No,” then just hug the dear geezer gently and chalk up another win for the ravages of nostalgia …

Now eat as well as you can, citizen! Tip like it’s going out of style, and watch out for those lingering ’ronas and the unvaccinated eedjits who harbor them …

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