Amy's and Mangia Give it Away
The Amy's First Unannual-Birthday-Welcome Wagon-Benefit also celebrates 10 tantalizing years of Amy's Ice Cream and benefits Christopher House, a care facility for people with AIDS. The fortuitious event takes place at the brand new Amy's/Mangia store (3500 Guadalupe). "Dress" is optional, whatever that means. - Cindy Widner
Penny's Popular PastriesSome of the most bestselling items in the pastry case at the Central Market deli are the delicious cookies from local wholesale custom bakery, Penny's Pastries. Though they were pretty pricey, the beautiful bunnies and Easter eggs with the porcelain sugar glazes sold like hotcakes recently. My personal favorites are the bags of Plain Janes, simply scrumptious shortbread rounds. Look for Penny's Pastries at all the Whole Foods stores, Central Market, and many of your favorite coffee shops, such as Little City, Ruta Maya, Cafezino, Trianon, and Carlo for Coffee.
Good Taste, Good DealA relatively new company, Good Taste, puts forth what looks like an all-purpose entertainment bargain. A $50 plastic card from the Good Taste company entitles you to 12 months' worth of reduced prices at selected restaurants, fine arts and entertainment venues, and custom services. Restaurants such as the Belgian Restaurant, Barbara Ellen's, Shoreline, Chez Zee, City Grill, El Rinconcito and Taj Palace participate, as do the Austin Symphony, Austin Light Opera, Ballet Austin, Zach Scott, Live Oak, Capitol City Playhouse, and the Paramount. Call 397-9975 for an information packet.
What's Cooking at Boggy Creek FarmLocal chefs and restaurateurs such as Bitter End's Emmet Fox, Zoot's Stewart Scruggs, Randy Salls of Kerbey Lane Restaurants, Mars pastry chef Tina Haverty and Stelline's Harvey Harris met with Central Texas growers for a pot-luck supper at Boggy Creek Farm this week. They were there to network and plan the upcoming What's Cooking in the Park Tasting Event, to be sponsored by Whole Foods Market and The Austin Chronicle on May 20 in Duncan Park downtown. Tickets are on sale at all the Whole Foods Markets and Boggy Creek Farm.
Culinary OscarsThe International Association of Culinary Professionals annual convention brought a dazzling lineup of international culinary stars to our area in early April. The cookbook fare event featured the cream-of-the-crop of cookbook authors, seated at tables to sign their books and chat. Although the line at Julia Child's table stretched outside the ballroom most of the afternoon, two books with local connections were attracting attention. San Antonio chef Jay McCarthy was signing Travelling Jamaica with Knife, Fork and Spoon (Crossing Press, $16.95 paper), written with Chronicle critic Robb Walsh. Lucinda Hutson was on hand with her excellent new offering Tequila! (Ten Speed Press, $16.95 paper), a fascinating compendium of folklore, history, recipes for food and festive libations, and party ideas delightfully decorated with drawings of Hutson's own extensive collection of Mexican folk art.
That evening, the Julia Child Cookbook awards were presented in an event which was the culinary equivalent of the Oscars, complete with silly jokes, presenters who had never met, and tearful acceptance speeches. Longtime Austinite Martha Rose Shulman won the Healthy category with her exemplary Provencal Light (Bantam, $29.95 hard), as wonderful to read as it is to cook from.
Hard CopyFonda San Miguel chef and co-owner Miguel Ravago has just signed a contract with Simon and Schuster to write a cookbook about Mexican regional cooking in America. Ravago and his co-author Marilyn Tausend will present homestyle Mexican recipes from California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and New York that can easily be prepared in American kitchens. Ravago is also busy planning his second appearance at the James Beard House coming up in June.
New and NoshworthyDolce Vita
4222 Duval Street, 323-2686
Open daily 11am-midnight
Bick Brown reports that he has hoisted an ice cream cone to the top of the fork in front of his Hyde Park Bar and Grill to attract people to his long-awaited new gelateria, Dolce Vita. Located just north of Hyde Park B & G, the new ice cream store features a dazzling array of deliciously decadent Italian gelatos, desserts, cappuccino, and espresso. Liqueurs will be available as soon as the liquor license arrives. - Virginia B. Wood