SNAP Benefits Amplified, Bacon Day Snoozes Up the Yum, 4th Tap Folds and SXSE Food Co. Moves, Garrison Brothers Release Bourbon Passport, 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.

Serving suggestion: Eat some bacon (and pancakes) for good at Snooze this weekend

Yes, citizen, it’s your “Food News Buffet” for the first week of September, deep in the wildly palpitating heart of Texas.

To address food insecurity in Austin, the Sustainable Food Center (SFC) and Wheatsville Food Co-op have partnered to make it easier for people using SNAP benefits to buy fruits and vegetables. Beginning Sept. 1 – and with funding from the City of Austin – local Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) clients will get a 50% discount on fruits and vegetables at both Wheatsville stores (40001 S. Lamar; 3101 Guadalupe), thanks to the SFC’s Double Up Food Bucks program. Note: This is the first program of its kind in Austin, with our metrop joining Lubbock as the only other Texas city to offer such incentives in grocery stores …

Hurray, hurray, it’s International Bacon Day! From now through Sept. 7, all Snooze locations will serve two Bacon Day pancake specials, with 100% of the proceeds going to Snooze’s nonprofit partner, No Kid Hungry. In other news, the – what? You wanna know what those two fancy ’cakes are? Listen: The Graceland Pancake, an Elvis-inspired creation that features buttermilk batter filled with fresh banana slices, topped with peanut-butter cream, caramel sauce, whipped butter, and lots of chopped bacon. Also consider the Bacon & Eggs Pancake: Linsey Onken’s masterpiece of buttermilky goodness filled with chopped bacon and cheddar cheese, topped with a sunny-side-up egg, more chopped bacon, and maple black pepper syrup …

Whiskey lovers, you do know it’s time for Garrison Brothers’ annual nationwide takeover, right? The Hye-based champion of superlative whiskies is teaming up with amazing chefs and mixologists at more than 100 locations across the country (Sept. 1-30) to present original cocktails and culinary creations featuring their award-winning bourbon. (We’re partial to III Forks right here in town, and The Loyalist in Chicago.) Seems like a good idea to get that handy Bourbon Takeover Passport app of theirs – and grab you a chance to win a prize at the end …

Hook this, sports fan! Sonesta Bee Cave’s restaurant rooftop and bar, Meridian 98, has crafted a speciality Horns Up margarita for those ready to cheer on the Longhorns. Yeah, we told you about this place a while ago, and now – beginning on Sept. 3 – folks who come into Meridian 98 on any game day during the regular season wearing burnt orange will receive free Horns Up margarita

“Hey, Brenner, c’mon,” someone nagged me recently, “will you stop writing about Austin Eastciders, already? What are you, on their goddam payroll or something?” Uh, no, ya eedjit – I’m not “on their goddam payroll.” But also, no, I’ll stop writing about them when they stop doing things like this: Austin Eastciders has collaborated with the makers of Mike’s Hot Honey, which means they’ll be releasing the resultant Imperial Stash: Mike’s Hot Honey Cider starting on Monday, Sept. 5 – available only at Austin retailers – and then featuring it on draft at Austin Eastciders (1530 Barton Springs Rd.) and The Collaboratory (979 Springdale), starting on Saturday, Sept. 17 – and only then, in October, after Texas has had a good long taste, releasing the new brew up in NYC. It’s a limited edition, so get ‘em while you can and enjoy the sparkling, sweet honey taste with a mix of crisp apples and just a touch of lingering heat from the chilis …

Gonna have to pour out a can of that Hot Honey Cider, though, in sad memory of 4th Tap Brewing Co-op – which shut down for keeps a couple of weeks ago, unable to sustain their works in the recessionary/supply chain/pandemic-challenged shitshow that’s still thwarting a lot of businesses. So now we’re bereft of all those delicious 4th Tap brews (citrusy saison Sun Eater, we’re thinking of you especially) and left wondering what’s gonna happen with Bob Somsith’s SXSE culinary outpost. Because that cravable Laotian eatery was such a fine feature of – oh! This just in! SXSE Food Co is moving down south and partnering up with Vacancy Brewing (415 E. St. Elmo), with service starting on Thursday, Sept. 1, at 4pm. Okay, then. More power to you, chef. Reckon being so near The Yard bodes well for everyone

As we noted a couple of weeks ago, The Carillon (1900 University Ave.) is open for dinner again – farewell, pandemic! hello, fine dining on campus! – and chef Kyle Barham’s got it going on in delicious style. And Huckleberry, that seafood-forward master of noms, having established itself as Still Austin’s steady courtyard kitchen (440 E. St. Elmo), is now open for weekend brunch (Sat.-Sun., 11am-3pm). The joint's Crab Cake Benedict, for instance, is clawful good … And wasn’t there something about a, um, what did they call it? About the RR 12 Supper Club opening out in … Wimberley, was it? Yes! And we’ll be telling you more about that posh palace of palatable pleasures in the next week or so – although the Chronicle’s Melanie Haupt has a review of that same area’s new Hildee’s Texas Dine-Inn right here

Let’s see – what else, what else? The Texas Craft Brewers Festival will be sudsing up a beery storm at Fiesta Gardens on October 1, and they’re looking for a few volunteers … and don’t forget about those Cheap Eats for Austin Students … and 10 of Austin’s Best Bars … also know, you Scoville-happy freaks, that the Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival is on its way …

WUXTRY! Love & Cookies, the Lakeway-based cookie company run by Ashley Cameron, just won first place (and 20 grand) in this year’s H-E-B Quest for the Best program. It’s the company’s frozen cookie dough, in particular, that wowed the judges sufficient to result in such a victory – and you’ll be able to get the yummy stuff at your local H-E-B soon enough. Check out this list of other winners from across the Lone Star State

WUXTRY! The much-anticipated rooftop restaurant Nido at The Loren Hotel (1211 W. Riverside), is now taking reservations in advance of opening in early October. If you’re a fan of modern American dining (and luxurious lakeside views), reckon you’ll want to partake of chef Brad McDonald’s superb fare, whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, or dinner …

Now eat as well as you can, tip like it’s going out of style, and take care lest you wound the autumnal city.

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