Food-O-File

The edibles at Fabulous Cheesecakes are still fabulous but they are no longer Lore-tta's. Cheesecake-maker Loretta Bates has sold her popular local operation to the father-son team of Charles Shields and Tracen Gardner, who plan to maintain the quality of the product while expanding sales and distribution. Bates says she is "thrilled about the sale. It's really the best thing that could have happened." Fabulous Cheesecakes' various delicious flavors and their trademark wedding cheesecakes will still be available. Another local dessert business changed hands earlier this year when founder Tamara Chauncey sold her company Brownies, Brownies to Karen Condit. Brownies, Brownies' scrumptious cheesecake brownies and lemon bars have an extremely loyal following at such retail outlets as Whole Foods Markets, Sun Harvest, Little City, and City Grill and mail-order customers all around the country clamor for them, too... Congrat-ulations to Jeff Weinberger, Ron and Peggy Weiss, and their exemplary staff at Jeffrey's on their 20th anniversary! For 20 years, Jeffrey's has consistently set the standard for fine dining and professional service in Austin. The current staff of Executive Chef David Garrido, chef Alma Thomas, and pastry chef Nicole Hart continue to enhance the creative cooking tradition that began with original chef Emil Vogely, now at Tarry House, and carried on for years by Brio's Raymond Tatum... Starved for ideas to jazz up your holiday meals? Check out the chef line-up at the Whole Food's Farmer's Market every Wednesday afternoon in December. Buy fresh local produce and get holiday preparation tips and recipes from Zoot's Stewart Scruggs (12/6), Alan Lazarus from WFM's Clearwater Cafe (12/13), Skyline Grill's John Woolsey (12/20) and Lyle Clay of Kerbey Lane Cafe (12/27). Weary holiday shoppers: In addition to all manner of coffee drinks, Starbucks will offer Eggnog Latte, hot cocoa, tea, and steaming cider at all locations... It's possible to amaze and delight your holiday guests with spectacular, original pastry and dessert creations this month without ever turning on the oven. Rush into La Madeleine and pick up a traditional French Buch de Noel. Call Zoot restaurant (477-6535) before December 19 and Executive pastry chef Mary Perna will gladly make you a 9" Double Crust Apple-Cherry Pie or traditional Pecan and Pumpkin pies. Starting next week, Upper Crust will be making European Christmas delights such as Stollen, Pannetone, and their version of a Buch de Noel. Chez Zee pastry chef Corey Harris will feature Andes Mint Cheesecake, Cranberry Bavarian Torte, and Chocolate Pâté with Raspberry Sauce for special holiday orders... Schlotzsky's new Bread Alone bakery on S. Lamar will be in the holiday groove. Pastry chef Rebecca Rather's plans include homey items like Pumpkin or Eggnog Cheesecakes, Bourbon Pecan and Sweet Potato Pies, and Cranberry Lemon Bread. Then there are some creative variations such as Maple French Toast Souffles, White Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding, and Gingerbread Gnomes. Her traditional French offerings will be Chocolate Truffles flecked with gold leaf and a dynamic Caramel Croquemboche. The cookie elves at Penny's Pastries are busy decorating 18 to 20 distinctive holiday designs including Christmas trees, angels, doves and snowflakes. Pick up the elegant, handpainted confections at Food, Food, the Kitchen Door, and the deli case at Central Market, or order direct by calling 320-8456.

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