Food-O-File

by Virginia B. Wood

Zoot, one of Austin's most successful dinner houses, has recently added a Sunday brunch. Service in the sunny, comfortable West Austin cottage is available from 11am-2pm, featuring an à la carte menu. Diners can sip Mimosas and order from an interesting selection of breakfast and lunch dishes such as cinnamon brioche french toast, Jamaican potato omelet with tropical fruits or a cornish hen with fontina grits and haricots verts. Pastry chef Mary Perna's baked goods and desserts complement the menu. In other notable news from Zoot, chef/co-owner Stewart Scruggs has resigned his position. "After five years at Zoot it was time to make a change," explains Scruggs. "It's a very amicable split and I just wanted to give (co-owners) Bick and Erica Brown plenty of time to find a replacement before they open Manga," an Asian diner the Browns are starting in Hyde Park. Scruggs is considering all job options and not limiting himself to Austin or even Texas. The Browns are reviewing resumés from local and national applicants for the vacant position...

Several local confectioners have great holiday desserts for sale around town. Consider these: The new holiday flavor from Amandine French Sorbets is Cranberry Spice for sale in all the usual places; the ever-popular Pumpkin Flan from Marta's Flan will soon be joined by Eggnog Flan at Whole Foods, Central Market, Fiesta and restaurants all over town; scrumptious pies such as Bourbon Pecan, Mocha Pecan and Pumpkin with Ginger Pecan Crust created by PamMade Pies can be found at both Whole Foods stores and Central Market as well as her little retail outlet at 103-B W. Pecan in downtown Pflugerville; Sweetish Hill's delicious Pumpkin Cheesecakes and other famous sweets are for sale at Central Market this year as well as their two retail outlets...

If you've decided to leave the cooking of Thanksgiving Dinner up to professionals, there are many eager to oblige. Reliable spreads from Whole Foods Market, Central Market and Threadgill's are just a phone call away and there are some new contenders this year. Bon Fresh Food Market (327-3801) will have items such as turkey, leg of lamb, ham and various side dishes, seasoned and ready to pop in the oven so no one need ever know you didn't slave for days. Sfuzzi (476-8100) has a dynamite menu to eat in the restaurant or take home. If an American Thanksgiving dinner with a French country flair sounds interesting, contact Jean-Luc's French Bistro (494-0033) for a fax copy of their stress-free holiday order menu...

Two popular local ethnic restaurants are celebrating anniversaries with special menus. Check out the Peruvian Tasting Menu at El Rinconcito on Monday, November 25 and wish chef/owner Lalo Garland a happy fifth anniversary while you're there. This year's crop of Beaujolais Nouveau will arrive at Jean-Luc's French Bistro the weekend of November 22-23, and they're offering a four-course prix fixe degustation menu on those evenings in conjunction with the completion of their maiden year. Raise a glass of beaujolais and wish them joyeux anniversaire....

Randall's has joined the local Farmer's Market craze. Drop by the Randall's on William Cannon Saturday and Sunday mornings this month to shop for fresh fall vegetables from Gary Hodge's Hodge Station Farm. Hodge's produce will be picked fresh early the morning it goes on sale at the store. Sounds like something to be very thankful for.


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