Argus Cidery Returns, Lou’s Comes to Barton Springs Road, Hip Hotels Hype that Hemp, Fierce Whiskers Hosts Loro, Chi’Lantro Goes South, 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.

Thank you, Chi'Lantro – and welcome to South Austin!

Yes, it’s your Food News Buffet for the third week of May in Austin, Texas, where it’s now legal to possess less than four ounces of The Devil’s Weed at any given time.

(OMG, what will the city’s lawmakers allow next? Women having autonomy over their own bodies, or something equally insane? Will those ravening, hell-spawned liberals never be satisfied?)

But, ah, let’s not digress from the local food-and-beverage subjects at hand …

After a two-year hiatus, Argus Cidery, having relocated its production to Thirsty Planet Brewing on South Congress, finally returns to Central Texas shelves (for instance: H-E-B) with its flagship flavor, Apple Bomb. Oh, but it gets even better: That always-available refresher will be joined by quarterly seasonal releases from Texas’s first cidery (established in 2010) as the year goes on.

And this weekend, Jester King – mmmm, everybody loves Jester King, don’t they? – will be celebrating National Craft Beer Week with the release of not one, not two, but three new brews. Oh, and some live music, and cocktail specials, all going on through May 22 in their gorgeous Dripping Springs stomping grounds, and – okay, better click here and just see if you can fend off the FOMO …

Lick Honest Ice Creams hosts author Tara Miko Ballentine and her Bright Littles, a project that helps parents to discuss diversity, health, nature, and safety, to prepare children for the world around them. Ballentine will present her company’s Convo Cards and new Safety Convo Journal at Lick’s Mueller location (1905 Aldrich) on Wednesday, May 25, 3-6pm, there among some of the tastiest flavors on the planet.

Those Earlybird CBD people, tell you what. They make a fine variety of hemp-enhanced gummies and tinctures – focusing on the recreational benefits of the blessed herb and enfusing their products with a consistent microdose of natural THC in every serving – and now a selection of those products are available at the Thompson Hotel (506 San Jacinto) and the Carpenter Hotel (400 Josephine). Well, yeah, it’s always 4:20 somewhere, isn’t it? How nice that the somewhere can be as elegant as these relaxing rental premises.

Thank Lou's very much, and welcome them to Barton Springs Road!

Good heavens, those movers & shakers at MML Hospitality: Already responsible for bringing this city some of the best restaurants and hotels we’ve ever known, now they’ve gone and opened the second location of Lou’s – right near Zilker Park. The welcoming and casual eatery’s open 8am-10pm daily at 1608 Barton Springs Road, and … what are they telling us? “Ideal for pit-stops before heading to Zilker, early mornings for donuts, coffee, and tacos, and evenings with friends, pitchers of beer, and a tableful of burgers, fries, salads, and other snacks.” That’s exactly right. Hell, get you one of those deeee-licious green chili cheeseburgers, and it’s more than right.

Reminder: The Wine & Food Foundation’s “Toast of Texas,” a leisurely sip-and-stroll event that features samples from some of our state’s best wineries and food from Mi Paella and SLAB BBQ, will be staged in the historic (and air-conditioned) buildings of Star Hill Ranch out in Bee Cave on the afternoon of Sunday, June 5. Might wanna grab you some tickets ($85 and up) while they’re still available.

But maybe the fifth of June is too far away and what, oh, what ever shall you do until then? Check out the Hotel Granduca on Thursday, May 26, because they’ll be hosting their latest Long Table Dinner. This one’s “A Taste of Napa” and features a multicourse meal of Italian-inspired dishes paired with wines from California’s Trinitas Cellars. We’ve had the pleasure, previously, and can vouch: This is one hell of a fine feast.

OTOH, a little closer to home and also featuring Italian fare that’s always *chef’s kiss*, there’s the monthly Wine Dinner at Andiamo Ristorante Italiano (2521 Rutland). The next one’s on Tuesday, May 31, and features wine-paired dishes inspired by the region of Puglia. Ask yourself: What would Stanley Tucci do?

Also on Memorial Day weekend, well, relaxation doesn’t get much better than enjoying an evening at Fierce Whiskers Distillery (5333 Fleming ) when they’ve got one of their special chef takeovers going on. And on Sunday, March 29th, they’ll be teaming up with the Asian-smokehouse savants of Loro for a three-course meal paired with three cocktails, out their on the sun-dappled, shade-covered, tree-studded lawn. If we tell you that just one of the courses is “bone-in pork loin with madras curry and smoked peaches,” are you already clicking for reservations … ?

Speaking of distilleries, we don’t know how whiskery the folks over at Garrison Brothers may be – that master distiller Donnis Todd is sometimes all smartly clean-shaven – but they’re pretty damned fierce themselves. For instance, those Hye-based sorcerers of superlative spirits have just released their rarest expression yet: The 101-proof Laguna Madre, aged for four years in white American oak casks and finished for four years in Limousin oak casks. Last year’s Laguna Madre was awarded Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and this year’s release is (could it be possible?) even better. Note: There are just over one thousand bottles making their way to select stores, and they’re going for around $350 each. Reckon it’s cheaper to just drive over to the distillery and buy a few other creations of Garrison craftiness – right? – but, boy howdy, we’ll definitely be doing one or the other ASAP.

Aaaaaargh, no sooner do we run a cover story about The Yard on St. Elmo mentioning Blue Norther Hard Seltzer’s three original flavors, then those irrepressible purveyors of fizzy grown-up goodness release three new flavors. Mind you, their Summerfest trio is a limited release – featuring peach, pomegranate, and watermelon – so get it while you can, at the company’s tasting room at 440 E. St. Elmo or … elsewhere. Hint: Have we said “H-E-B” often enough in this column?

How about we say “Central Market,” instead? Because right now – through May 31they’ve got a “Really Into Texas” promotion going on, stocking all their aisles (even more than usual) with artisan foods and finds from Texas producers: Wagyu steaks, Gulf seafood, local honey, small-batch ice cream, Hill Country wines, and a whole state-load more.

WUXTRY! Chi’Lantro, that powerhouse of Korean barbecue-inspired cuisine, is coming to South Austin. Company founder Jae Kim tells us that the ninth (!) location of the fast-casual eatery (at 9911 Brodie, in the Shady Hollow Village shopping center) will open on Monday, June 6 – and be open daily, 10:30am-10pm. Here’s a solid truth: The more places we can get those Original Kimchi Fries in this town, the better.

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

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