R.I.P., John Mueller; Farewell to Contigo; Garbo’s Lobsters On; Trudy’s Says Howdy to Seafood; the Garrison Brothers Are Convivial Steak Holders

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.

Oh, Contigo, you will be missed so hard …

Yes, it’s your Food News Buffet for the final week of that misbegotten spawn of a roller coaster and a dumpster fire that we call 2021.

By now you probably know that Texas barbecue legend John Mueller (of Austin’s John Mueller BBQ and more recently Dallas’ Hutchins BBQ fame) has died. The celebrated – and even somewhat notorious – pitmaster, brother to la Barbecue’s LeAnn Mueller, was 52.

In other miserable news, memories of happy gatherings and the best rabbit & dumplings we ever had – the only rabbit & dumplings we ever had – will be tinged with sadness now that Contigo is closing after a ten-year run of culinary excellence and community enrichment. The neighborhood stalwart of chillaxing and gastronomy – ably run by Ben Edgerton, Dana Curley, and chef Andrew Wiseheart – opened in 2011 at 2027 Anchor Lane and quickly became known for its delicious food, innovative drinks menu, and patio-abetted laidback vibe. And now, damn it all, Contigo’s last day of service will be Thu., Dec. 30, so do pay a visit while you still can …

More brightly, the Wine & Food Foundation, buoyed by their recent 35th Rare & Fine Wine Auction, has donated $6,000 to Austin Pets Alive! this season …

And, in further joy, there’s Christmas Day and the fact that Heidi Garbo’s new brick-and-mortar at 12709 N. Mopac, already up and doing a brisk business in lobster rolls and oysters and all manner of succulent seafood dishes, will be open on that day (5-9pm), too – serving up plate after plate of fresh, ocean-borne goodness accompanied by the best cocktails (curated by Josh Loving of Small Victory, no less) to wash it all down with …

And Tex-Mex powerhouse Trudy’s is set to debut their newest restaurant concept, Trudy’s Del Mar, on Wed., Dec. 29, in the former South Congress Cafe location at 1600 S. Congress. This venue’s focus, honed by chef Julian Rodarte, will be on seafood dishes inspired by traditional recipes from Mexican coastal living, which is enticement enough. But! Trudy’s is no dummy: You’ll still be able to get the previous South Congress Cafe brunch menu that includes sweet potato beignets, carrot cake French toast, and migas …

And Kura Sushi, that beloved conveyor-belt joint of Japanese noms in the Crescent, is offering party trays of assorted nigiri and Osechi-style sushi rolls as holiday specials for takeout or delivery only – for $29 each, while supplies last …

Beyond this Christmas weekend lies … the wub? No, that was a Philip K. Dick story. Beyond this holiday weekend lies the weekend of New Year’s Eve, as we plummet headlong into the pile of question marks and epistemological muck that’ll be 2022. And, though the ever-shifting pandemic mishegoss may attempt to thwart all plans, we’ve gathered a plethora of Austin-based dining and drinking options for you to check out …

Oh! You know that Eric Puga’s wrangled up a list of his 10 Favorite Dark Beers In Austin, right? And Jessi Cape recommends these local venues for maximum Comfort Food satisfaction. And your current reporter is totally in loaf with these 10 Austin Breads

Finally, early heads-up here: Garrison Brothers Distillery, those nonpareil purveyors of whiskey out in Hye, will be hosting an exclusive ticketed dinner at III Forks Steakhouse (111 Lavaca) on Tue., Jan. 11. Yes, of course the food will be extraordinary – porcini-crusted lamb lollipops, veal sweetbreads, Durham Ranch wagyu strip steak, and more – but it’s the course-by-course whiskeys pairings we’re really stoked for. That, and the, well, we suppose you could call it a syzygy? Where three celestial objects line up at once? Because both Garrison brothers, Dan and Charlie, will be there – along with master distiller Donnis Todd – to provide the stories behind the night’s pairings. Bonus: The ticket proceeds will go to Good Bourbon for a Good Cause, the community-forward foundation that Chicago's own Bull Garlington told us about in this recent article

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

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