Elsewhere around town, 34th Street Cafe (1005 W. 34th, 371-3400) has added an affordable wine list and a new dessert line called Weezy Cakes, to enhance their in-house and off-premises catering and in preparation for their plans to open for dinner a few nights a week. Capitalizing on the mild weather, Madame Nadalini's (3363 Bee Caves, 328-4858) is actively promoting their attractive new outdoor seating area as the place to enjoy a completely new, expanded menu which features beef, fish, pork, and poultry dishes from Northern Italy. Word of Mouth Fine Catering (451-6986) is busy relocating their base of operations to the 900 block of W. 12th Street. They are temporarily operating out of the former Amandine Bakery while they renovate the old Run-Tex building to house a kitchen, offices, and storage facilities. When the new space is finished, owners Rebecca Wallace and Leslie Moore plan to turn the free-standing bakery building into an upscale take-out food shop. Look for work to be completed by late summer. Craig Thibodeau and Steve Wright, new owners of Heart of Texas Produce (1305 E. Sixth, 479-8771), are enlisting a group of chefs to act as an advisory panel for their business. A couple of upscale dinner houses, Bertram's (1601 Guadalupe, 476-2743) and Zoot (509 Hearn, 476-6535) have opened for brunch and opted for beautifully presented à la carte menus rather than buffets. Manuel's (310 Congress, 472-7555) hired experienced catering director Christel Mayer (472-4422) to create their new catering operation and introduced both to their clientele at a margarita reception on May 15. Chef Miguel Ravago (450-0076) inaugurated his own catering business with a party for Arista Records last weekend. Ravago is available for parties while he continues his search of the right restaurant deal.
How's this for a send-off? Becker Vineyards off Hwy290W near Stonewall will launch their 1996 Chardonnay with a Hot Air Balloon Launch on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26. The balloons will lift off in both the early morning and early evening. Festivities include winery tours and tastings of the new vintages and will run until 9pm. For directions, call 210/644-2681.