Daily Food
Traditional foods and music of the Mediterranean are two of the big attractions at one of Austin's favorite annual festivals
St. Elias Mediterranean Festival
Members of the congregation of Austin's St. Elias Orthodox Church have been busy for months preparing for this weekend's 76th annual Mediterranean Festival. Women of the church have spent weekends cooking and freezing authentic Mediterranean dishes that will be served to the appreciative crowds. In addition to traditional foods and fascinating crafts, ethnic music and folk dancing are always an integral part of the festival's attractions. On recent Sunday evenings, longtime festival steering committee member Bill Attal has been teaching folk dance steps to members of the congregation so they can join in the fun. Chronicle photographer John Anderson dropped by the church hall recently to shoot some video footage of the dance action. The renown Pennsylvania-based Greek group Stavros & Maria will be performing and Bill Attal assures us that the urge to get out on the dance floor will be irresistible. The folks at St. Elias invite Austinites out to enjoy the festival this weekend. They will be selling great food and drinks, very entertaining musical performances, and plenty of good exercise on the dance floor! The festival will close an entire block of 11th Street between Trinity and Red River and the cover charge is $5 at the gate. Food and drinks will be for sale. Friday & Saturday, Oct. 10 & 11 from 6pm until 12mid. [video-1]

5:31PM Tue. Oct. 7, 2008, Virginia B. Wood Read More | Comment »

Enjoy a Texas Two-Sip Tasting and Get Texas Wine Month Off to a Good Start
Respected local wine expert and award-winning sommelier Devon Broglie hosts a blind tasting of Texas wines this evening at the Whole Foods Market Culinary Center. Broglie will discuss how grapes such as Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Viognier are well-suited to Texas terroir and feature wines made from them in a blind tasting against wines from around the world. Cost of the tasting is $45 and reservations can be made online at www.wholecateringaustin.com.

10:38AM Fri. Oct. 3, 2008, Virginia B. Wood Read More | Comment »

Local Bartender Places in the Cocktail World Cup competition in New Zealand
Award-winning FINO mixologist Bill Norris recently returned from New Zealand where he was part of a bartending team representing the Central United States in the World Cocktail Cup competition sponsored by 42Below Vodka. Team Central USA made up of Norris, Jared Boller, and Charles Joly created a drink called Wisdom of the Ages that garnered second place in the contest. Norris was generous enough to share the recipe for this delectable libation with Chronicle readers, but if it sounds too challenging to make at home, he'll also be glad to whip one up when you drop by the bar at FINO (2905 San Gabriel, 474-2905).

9:51AM Wed. Oct. 1, 2008, Virginia B. Wood Read More | Comment »

Go Texan Restaurant Day
October is Texas Wine Month and the celebration kicks off today with the first annual Go Texan Restaurant Day sponsored by the Texas Department of Agriculture. All across the state, restaurants participating in TDA's Go Texan restaurant program will be "bringing Texas to the table" by showcasing local produce, Texas artisan foods, and Texas wines in meals all day long. A portion of the proceeds of these meals will be donated to support Texas food banks. For a listing of restaurants in this area that belong to the Go Texan program, go to www.GoTexan.org. Show your support for local sustainable agriculture by eating out in a participating restaurant on Wednesday, October 1st! [video-1] [video-2]

9:31AM Wed. Oct. 1, 2008, Virginia B. Wood Read More | Comment »

Popular Chef Returns to Austin
Former Austin Chef Roberto Santibanez will be in Austin in early October for the opening of Maria Maria Cantina (415 Colorado, 687-6800;www.mariamariarestaurants.com). Many Austinites became fans of Santibanez' subtle, sophisticated interpretation of classic Interior Mexican cuisine when he was Executive Chef at Fonda San Miguel from 1997 to 2001. Santibanez left Austin for New York City where he was culinary director for the upscale Rosa Mexicana restaurant chain and wrote a highly-acclaimed cookbook entitled Rosa's New Mexican Table that came out last year. In 2007, he became culinary director of the Maria Maria Cantina chain, owned by legendary musician Carlos Santana. The new Austin eatery will be the fourth outlet in the chain and is scheduled to open October 4th in the Warehouse District. Blackberry Mole lovers - this place will be one you don't want to miss!

2:33PM Sat. Sep. 20, 2008, Virginia B. Wood Read More | Comment »

Food Network Crew in Austin Today
Marc Summers, host of the Food Network's Unwrapped, is in town today with a production crew filming a story about one of Austin's favorite homegrown beverages, Sweet Leaf Tea. No word yet on when the segment will air, but we'll keep you posted. In the meantime, we're assured there will be plenty of Sweet Leaf's delightful, refreshing teas to help you survive at the Austin City Limits Festival next weekend.

12:25PM Wed. Sep. 17, 2008, Virginia B. Wood Read More | Comment »

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Congratulations, Tracy Claros!
Hearty congratulations to Tracy Claros, owner of Austin's award-winning Sticky Toffee Pudding Company. We've just been advised that her delectable products will be featured in the "O-List" in the upcoming issue of Oprah Winfrey's O Magazine as the "Sexiest English Creation Since Colin Firth!" We couldn't agree more. Bravo, Tracy!

12:09PM Wed. Sep. 17, 2008, Virginia B. Wood Read More | Comment »

AAARRRGGGHHH - Talk Like a Pirate
Ahoy, mateys! Those wacky folks at Opal Divine's Freehouse (700 West 6th Street, 477-3308)will be all dressed up and talking like pirates this Friday evening, September 19th. The Jolly Garogers will be on hand to provide musical entertainment and there will also be a pirate costume contest. For more info, go to www.opaldivines.com and/or www.talklikeapirate.com.

11:59AM Wed. Sep. 17, 2008, Virginia B. Wood Read More | Comment »

Who Is on the Range?
Years ago when I was making salads and desserts at a restaurant on Kerbey Lane, one of the chefs and I dropped by the restaurant on our mutual day off to pick up our paychecks. When the owner saw us sitting on the patio towards the end of lunch service, he ran outside in a panic shouting "Who is on the range, who is on the range?" Ever since then, that's the phrase I use to refer to the person in charge of the kitchen, or in this case, the Chronicle's new food blog. So - Virginia's on the range here. Most of the time, gathering information for and writing my column, reviewing restaurants, and organizing the Chronicle food section is more than enough work to keep me busy. Occasionally, I still get the urge to create restaurant desserts and a couple of days of baking usually scratches that itch. But when the press release about the Z'Tejas Chile Bash Dessert Recipe contest showed up in my email back in July, I just could not resist the challenge. I'm really not much of a chile-head and I only have two

3:57PM Mon. Sep. 15, 2008, Virginia B. Wood Read More | Comment »

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