Avocados Banned, More Mrs. Johnson's Planned, Micklethwait's Celebrates, Garrison Bros x Ice Cream Pros, and More …

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.

First, they came for the guacamole …

Yes, it’s your Food News Buffet for the third week of February, here in what is – we’re hoping, inshallah, fingers crossed – the final stretch of this lousy pandemic.

They pile up, don’t they, all those condiment packets you snag from hither and yon? Now’s the time to make them do some good while you declutter your kitchen and office drawers, during Keep Austin Fed’s Condiment Package Food Drive, where you can drop off your horde of hoardings in brightly marked buckets located at Batch (3220 Manor Rd.), Con’Olio (#120 in the Arboretum), Barley Bean (3600 S. Lamar), Brentwood Social House (1601 W. Koenig), and Nomadic Beerworks (3804 Woodbury). Note: Check business hours before dropping off those little pouches of meal-enhancing power …

Fear not, citizen: Mrs. Johnson’s Bakery, the longtime donut shop on Airport, is not shutting down. They’ve just been upgrading the infrastructure and so on, making the place even better, and will be back real soon with those delicious toroids of fried dough in a variety of delectable flavors …

An avocado ban? Yes, as U.S. officials have suspended imports of avocados from Mexico after a U.S. plant safety inspector received a threat on his official cellphone while carrying out inspections in Uruapan, Michoacan, according to the Associated Press. The ban will be in effect “until further notice,” so you may want to remind that guacamole in your fridge how much you love it and prepare for, we suspect, some price increases wherever you replenish your alligator pear supply …

What’s not banned is damn good beer, which (as the Chron’s Eric Puga is always glad to tell you) you can get all over Austin. But what’s got us enraptured right now is the latest from 4th Tap Brewing Co-op over on 10615 Metric – because there’s still a bit of cold weather left in this season, and there’s not much that goes better with chilling in the chill than the 4th’s SuperNaut Cookies & Cream Imperial Stout. Especially because you can get it on draft in their taproom – and that’s also where Bob Somsith’s SXSE Food Co. truck is dishing out a mouthwatering fusion of Southern American and southeast Asian flavors

And longtime Austin culinarista Michael T. Barnes writes in to tell us that he’s “currently in the process of buying the assets of Luke’s Inside Out at the Gibson (1109 S. Lamar) and changing it to ChoppdATX, Austin's home of the chopped cheese sandwich, as well as the Philly-style roast Italian pork sandwich.” Chef Michael assures us that the trailer will continue to serve the Austin's Best Burger, the item that “put Luke's on the map,” which we’re glad to hear, yes, but we wanna repeat that other thing one more time: Philly-style roast Italian pork sandwich

Okay – you know that raspberry chipotle sauce from Fischer & Wieser out in Fredericksburg, right? Totally changed the flavor game of an entire industry back in the day and, if you were savvy, wound up in your fridge where you still keep running out of the stuff because it’s so ridiculously good? Well, they recently debuted the Fischer & Wieser Farmstead out on their patch of the Hill Country, and it’s a property that includes two separate B&B lodging options along with edifying activities at their cooking school, and wine tastings, and the newest addition – Dietz Distillery, makers of fine gin and fruit brandies. Time for a weekend getaway, you think?

You know what else is finally, after a couple of ice storm and COVID delays, open and celebrating with a grand opening weekend? Saddle Up, the much anticipated beer-garden expansion of Micklethwait Craft Meats at 1309 Rosewood. They’ll be partying hearty and delicious this weekend, with complimentary food from Taco Bronco, sweet treats from the Micklethwait baking team (including Tom's Twonkys and Ding-Dangs and those newly debuted UH-OHs), plus (on Friday) natural wine tastings from Rootstock Wines and cider tastings with the Saddle Up team. You know it, we know it, Texas Monthly knows it: This town is lousy with great barbecue, and Micklethwait is among the best

Question: What goes together like whiskey and ice cream? How about … whiskey and ice cream? For the second year in a row, Garrison Brothers Distillery has teamed up with McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams to create the ultimate whiskey ice cream flavor: Garrison Bros. Whiskey & Pecan Pralines. It’ll be launching online for nationwide shipping on Fri., Feb. 18 – and possibly selling out before the weekend’s over, so do hurry with the pointing and clicking

And then, suddenly, it’s next week already. (Tempus? Fug it.) Yes – then it’s Tuesday, February 22, which is when 1) the incredible Sustainable Steak Dinner from Still Austin and Double J Ranch unveils its live-fire bounty of beef at The Long Time, and 2) National Margarita Day has every fool and his sister singing the song that Jimmy Buffet wrote while he was in Austin, and 3) the Nashville Hot Chicken aficionados of Tumble22 will be offering a 22% discount on every dine-in order placed at any of their five locations in this pepper-loving town. [Personal request: Can’t those Tumblers do a sort of corporate merger or whatever with Austin Eastciders, so we can always have cold, perfectly apple-forward beverages to wash their bodacious birds down with? Is that too much for a citizen to ask?]

What else? Well, the welcome news that three Austin-based culinary companies scored big with the Good Food Foundation this year (as did Driftwood’s Vista Brewing, again), that the Supper Friends crew is back to their pre-pandemic schedule of exquisite guest-chef dinners … and, though it’s from months ago, this evergreen reminder about tipping from the Chronicle’s own Luv Doc is just right for thwarting anyone's Inner Karen …

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


The Best of Austin: Restaurants ballot is here! Nominations can be made now through Monday, July 18, at midnight. Vote now at vote.austinchronicle.com.

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