Copper Closes, Oasthouse and Asahi Expand, AFWA Grants Locals, Holiday Dining Recos, and – what’s this about a Bloody Mary Festival?

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, citizen, it’s your Food News Buffet for the pre-Christmas week of December 2021!

So much good news last week, let’s start this one off with some sadness: The oldest locally owned non-chain restaurant in the Domain – the impressively kitchened, 90-seat Copper, run by the folks who started out as Austin Cake Ball – will be closing on January 2, unable to reach a workable deal with their current landlord. Silver lining: The original Austin Cake Ball bakery at 5310 Burnet will keep going strong…

Oasthouse x 2 = FTW!

Smile even bigger: The Hajimaleki brothers behind District Kitchen + Cocktails, Shortie’s, and Keepers Coastal Kitchen have opened the second location of their acclaimed Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar, in South Austin at 5701 Slaughter. Considering that Satellite on Slaughter is also owned by a pair of brothers – those indefatigable Kamburises of Flipnotics fame – we must wonder if a sort of sibling-centric restaurant row is forming, like a nebula slowly coalescing into stars …

Speaking of expansions, Asahi Imports, Austin’s only exclusively Japanese grocery store, carrying more than 30,000 Japanese products, has opened a second venue at 3005 S. Lamar. Owner Sally Matsumae has brought all the goodness of the Burnet Road store to south of the river, along with (of course) those handmade onigiri rice balls in a traditional “konbini” style and daily bento offerings, all now available in the new 1,300-square-foot space…

Note: Yes, we do have a bevy of Holiday Dining recommendations for you this week …

Fueled by $54,000 in grants from the Austin Food & Wine Alliance and San Antonio Food & Wine Alliance, 12 Central and South Texas culinary innovators can more easily realize their dreams and further propel Austin’s burgeoning culinary scene. Right here in the capital city, the recipients are Connie Jo's All-Purpose Sauces, the Multicultural Refugee Coalition, The Cultured Carrot, Abby Jane Bakeshop, Jeany’s Caribbean Elixirs, PEAS, Ninja Pig, and Barking Dog Farm. Congratulations, and better eating to us all …

Say, are you looking for some bona fide French pastry from a pair of sisters whose bakery seems straight out of a Wes Anderson dream? Let Jessi Devenyns tell you all about it. Or maybe you wanna keep your holiday gift-giving noms strictly Austintatious? Not to mention scoring a seasonally exclusive treat for your favorite feline-type domestic varmint

And how ya like these apples: Austin Eastciders is launching their new Light Cider line – just 100 calories per can – at a party at their Collaboratory (979 Springdale) on Sat., Dec. 18, noon-5pm – with light cider flights and variety packs on sale. Bonus: 35 different vendors from Frida Friday will be there, too, along with live music by DJs Chorizo Funk and B the Beat

Of course we’re biased toward our more local distillery community – hello again, Still Austin! – but San Antonio isn’t that much farther than Hye or Dripping Springs or Driftwood, right? And damned if the spirited savants at S.A.-based Maverick Whiskey haven’t gone and released a new Barrel Proof expression and a Texas Dry Gin that are excellent for enhancing your various holiday indulgences …

Okay, this is way advance notice – because, for real, it may sell out early – but the third annual Bloody Mary Festival will be held at Fair Market on Sun., Feb. 27, bringing together the most innovative and crafty Bloody Mary mixes, curated by a team of Bloody Mary aficionados and made by local bars and restaurants: Yellow Jacket Social Club, Hillside Farmacy, Snooze, and more. Have you seen any Bloodies lately? Damn, some of these things are like a combo of salad, charcuterie, and booze. (Yeah, we’re talking about you, Star Bar.)

Now eat as well as you can, tip like it’s going out of style, and watch out for that Omicron stuff.

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