Matt’s El Rancho Turns 70, the MOIC Is a Speer Carrier, Ski Shores Reopens, Huckleberry Anchors at Still Austin, Desert Door Reveals the Pollinator, 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.

Celebrating seven decades of Tex-Mex at Matt's El Rancho

Yes, compatriot, it’s your "Food News Buffet" for the first week of July.

Some restaurants – even when backed by a talented, hardworking team and big money investment – are lucky to make it to the 10-year mark, y’know? Well, on Thu., July 7, the one and only Matt’s El Rancho (2613 S. Lamar) will be celebrating 70 years(!) of serving up delicious classics of Tex-Mex food to Austin citizens and tourists alike. ¡Felicidades!

Chef Philip Speer's "Sundae of the Month" at the Museum of Ice Cream

Austin’s Museum of Ice Cream in the Domain, OTOH, is only a couple of years old. But their Night at the Museum series is already verging on the legendary; and now they’re spiking that spree with guest chef Philip Speer (of acclaimed Comedor and the Comedor Run Club, yes) for a weekend party featuring grown-up games, boozy ice cream concoctions, and plenty of sweet surprises. Every Friday and Saturday (7:30-10pm, July 8-30) MOIC visitors can savor chef Speer’s s’mores-inspired Sundae of the Month, enjoy tipsy sips from Hecho Tequila Soda and Kin Euphorics, and “engage in activities designed to inspire imagination and human connection, bringing to life the magic of ice cream.”

Hey, you aquaphiles! Ski Shores Cafe (2905 Pearce), newly redesigned for prime relaxation by the movers and shakers at MML Hospitality, has officially reopened on Lake Austin. The waterside eatery is already rocking for lunch and dinner, seven days a week, and breakfast on the weekends. Note: Later this summer, Ski Shores will introduce food, beer, wine, and cocktails to-go, along with cooler-packing services…

Texas Sushiko adds lunch service to its outpost at the Yard on St. Elmo

We shouted at you about chef Michael Carranza’s Texas Sushiko when we ran that cover story on the Yard a few weeks ago, right? Well, now the man’s gone and expanded his popular trailer’s service to include lunches – Wed.-Fri., 11am-2pm – which, in case you’re bad at math, means more great food more often at 440 E. St. Elmo…

But, speaking of that same Yard… it looks like Still Austin Whiskey Co., distillers of superlative Texas spirits (and one of our favorite hangout spots), has decided on the new food-truck resident for their courtyard. Yeah, and it’s Huckleberry – so we couldn’t be happier. Not much but Davis Turner’s take on Texas seafood could pair as well with Still Austin’s original high-end bourbons and gin and those excellent cocktails the joint’s bartenders craft up. You know? We mean, sure, if we lived out near Dripping Springs, we’d likely be ensconced in the grown-up wonderland of Treaty Oak and Alice’s Restaurant half our waking hours; but we don’t live out that way, and so…

Behold! The Pollinator from Desert Door!

And Desert Door Texas Sotol will soon be releasing Pollinator, the third spirit variation of their Conservation series, created with mesquite, persimmon, and honeysuckle – native plants pollinated by Texas bee species. This new edition will debut at the Driftwood-based distillery’s own launch party on Wed., July 6, then go wide on July 7, wherever Desert Door is distributed across Texas. Note: Part of the 49.99 retail price will go to the Wild Spirit Wild Places nonprofit…

And, let’s see, what else?

We’ve got a brief array of Fourth-of-July dining recos for your consideration… The Chronicle's Evan Rodriguez takes a look at some of the restaurants making Lockhart a foodie destination… the Texas Keeper Cider taproom out in Manchaca has a terrific new menu of noms (featuring delights from Antonelli’s and Easy Tiger and HiFi Mycology)… and, ah, is it too late to remind you about the Garrison Brothers’ Bourbon Brawl at Fair Market?

Now eat as well as you can, tip like it’s going out of style, and remember: If it ain’t your uterus, it ain’t your business.

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