Eastciders on Barton Springs Is Gone, Hi Sign Brewing Turns Six, Fogo de Chão Flexes Plantwise, Live Fire Beefs It Even Better, There’s Bourbon and Biscuits at Stella San Jac, and (how do you like it?) More, More, 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.

Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão brings the plant-based best to their new menu

Yes, citizen, it’s your “Food News Buffet” for the final week of March, as 2023 continues to gallop merrily along, much like all of us, toward its inevitable demise.

Hey, the South by Southwest Festival is over for another year, and, look: The city is still standing and its civic and corporate coffers have again been enriched to the tune of *checks the abacus* however many hundreds of millions of dollars. We’d put that solidly in the “win” category, yes.

Awww, core damn it! By this time you already know that the Austin Eastciders outpost on Barton Springs Road has closed. But you’re also aware – right? – that their powerhouse of a Collaboratory Tap Room (979 Springdale) is still going strong and cidery and is expected to stay that way. We’d love to see more Eastciders everywhere, of course, but even if it’s gotta be just that familiar and lively venue near Springdale Station for a while, we – we like them apples, don’t you?

We see, too, that the iconic Hi Sign Brewing (730 Shady Lane ) is celebrating its sixth anniversary with a three-day party on Fri.-Sun., March 24-26, featuring live music and DJ sets, food trucks, and (most importantly for all you inveterate sudsophiles) the release of six new beers brewed in collaboration with some of Austin’s most top beermeisters …

And three new dining establishments (and/or watering holes) are opening in the next seven days – Top Notch Hutto, Holiday, and the Uptown Sports Club – and we’ve got that news right here

And the Carillon (1900 University Ave) is bringing back their Spring Sunday brunches, with such a splendor of comestibles that your mind might boggle even while your taste buds sing a hosannah and your belly says “Howdy-do!” Cold and hot breakfast dishes, chilled seafood, charcuterie, salads, smoked prime rib at the carving station, a wealth of entrees and succulent sides and desserts and – yeah, we suspect the 10am-2pm stretch on Sundays is, starting April 9, going to be *chef’s kiss* at the Carillon …

Biscuits? Bourbon? Great idea, Stella San Jac!

Bourbon and biscuits? Yes! The Westin Austin’s Stella San Jac (310 E. Fifth) has begun hosting a Bourbon & Biscuits event every Thursday (3-10pm), featuring those two items paired for the perfect Texas tasting. The lineup changes every week, but judging from the most recent iteration – Noah's Mill, Willett Pot Still Reserve, and the Willett Family Estate Nine-Year Bourbon, with biscuits accompanied by peach & cherry relish, whipped honey butter, and orange marmalade – the experience is going to be superlative each time. And … how many Thursdays are there in a month? Yeah, that bodes well indeed …

Meanwhile, in the realm of more solid food, that glorious Brazilian steakhouse known to mortals as Fogo de Chão (200 Congress) has debuted an array of new plant-forward and nutrient-dense dishes alongside a new Bar Fogo cocktail lineup that includes zero-proof cocktails. Examples of the new veggie goodness now available within this mecca of meat? How about some seared tofu with miso black bean pasta or a roasted power vegetable bowl? Mmhmmm, you’re welcome …

Speaking of solid (and delicious) food, the South Congress Hotel’s Lobby Bar (1603 S. Congress) has a trio of new dishes to accompany their popular craft cocktails: a crispy kimchi chicken sandwich, the roasted beet falafel burger, and the citrus pork quesadilla. You can best wash any of those down with, we’d recommend, the Lobby Bar’s popular hibiscus margarita

The Driskill Grill (604 Brazos ) – yes, right inside that local legend of a hotel – also has a small flotilla of new dishes on the menu, featuring halibut ceviche and steak tartare, with rotating mains like Tournedos Rossini, whiskey-infused duck breast, and more, as the collaborative culinary efforts of chefs Mark Dayanandan, Cliff Benavides, and Kristen Groth bring the finest of dining to this classic Downtown location, with dinner service Tue.-Sat., 5-9pm. This is just in time for the return of their Beer Dinner Series, too. Wait, what is this Beer Dinner Series? Well, for starters: On Tue., March 28, the Driskill offers a special four-course feast from those same amazing chefs, each course paired with unique beers from Austin's (512) Brewing

Here’s your reminder that the Austin Food & Wine Alliance’s Live Fire extravaganza is coming up at Camp Mabry (2200 W 35th) on Thursday, April 6, featuring a tribute to classic Texas chophouses and the whole surf-n-turf aesthetic. Hey, Jess Pryles is gonna be there! And Chi Ndika! And Mike Diaz and Laura Sawicki! And Damien Brockway! And Jake Czyszczon! And – oh, hell, this gig is downright packed with talent …

Fónico's chef Billy Maldonado is at El Naranjo on Thursday, with brilliance like this

Let’s see – what else, what else? El Naranjo is hosting a collaborative dining experience with guest chef Billy Maldonado of Mexico City's FónicoZ’Tejas’ West Sixth location is closing forever, as our A. Richmond reports right here … this Saturday is when the Dripping Springs Brewers Festival celebrates the craftiest local suds, then, on Sunday, Uchiko teams up with Paperboy to present an unforgettable meal … Food editor Melanie Haupt and your current reporter look at six of this city’s newer pizza places … and, oh, guess what you can look forward to at this year’s Hot Luck barbecue extravaganza from Aaron Franklin

WUXTRY! You know those self-guided passport tours from Texas Hill Country Wineries? The newest one, the Wine & Wildflower Journey, is coming up for March 27-April, wherein you can set your own pace and sip award-winning wines at more than 40 unique Texas wineries. Our roving oenophiles Rowan & John Halliday have reported that this passport deal is well worth the price ($100 for two, $65 for one) – and you know they love both wine and saving money …

Now eat as well as you can, tip like it’s going out of style, and don’t forget to 1) breathe deep the gathering gloom and 2) exhale the shimmering light.

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