by Virginia B. Wood Coffee Tawk! Hyde Park neighbors will be ferklemp to know that another bakery will soon take up residence in the empty space at Duval Center, 43rd Street and Duval. The owners of Captain Quackenbush's Espresso Cafe (2120 Guadalupe, 472-4477) will open Quack's 43rd Street Bakery just after the new year. A fixture on the Drag since 1983, Quack's was Austin's first real coffeehouse. The new store will be under the direction of pastry chef Ginger Berryhill, whose full line of pastries and desserts are currently on sale at Quack's on the Drag and both Whole Foods stores. Look for the new bakery to be fully operational by February 1... The newest Starbucks location is at 13764 Hwy183 and Lake Creek. In keeping with the corporation's charitable tradition, the "eighth day coffee" from this new location will be donated to AIDS Services of Austin.... John Dixon, co-owner of the Espresso Expressions kiosks at Seton Northwest, Brackenridge Hospital, and Columbia St. David's Medical Center, was chosen the "Most Valuable Barista" at the 1997 Barista World Series. The contest was held at the North American Specialty Coffee Retailers Expo in Portland, Oregon in October. Dixon and his wife/business partner Robin Dixon will receive a trip to Belforte Del Chienti, Italy, sponsored by Fresh Cup Magazine and Nuovo Simonelli... Los Armadillos Coffee Roasters relocates to the Travis County Farmer's Market (6701 Burnet) as of December 13.

Three Austin businesses scored well in the recent Scovie Awards competition produced by Fiery Foods Magazine. Satay's Thai Roasted Coconut Salsa took first place in the "Most Unique" category, the Rosemary Habanero Jelly from Austin Slow Burn garnered a win in the "Condiment/Jams & Jellies" division, and its Salsa con Habanero received honorable mention in the "Salsa" category, as did Sgt. Pepper's Tejas Tears.

The building at 612 West Sixth is currently under renovation and the projected opening date for the new Ninfa's restaurant is mid- to late December. Brothers Gino and Tom Lorenzo, sons of Ninfa's legendary founder Ninfa Lorenzo, will own and manage the outlet. "We've moved our families to Austin," says Gino Lorenzo, "and we are looking forward to being part of the Austin community." ...The owners of Xena have joined forces with the Treviño family of San Antonio to turn the Northwest Austin restaurant into the local branch of El Mirador (10201 Jollyville Rd., 345-9944), featuring the cuisine of Interior Mexico. Wine buyer/Sommelier Len White is still very much with the company, and his wine list has grown to 52 wines by the glass with an additional specialty list with 30 hard-to-get labels.

Random news: Becker Vineyards (Jenschke Ln. off Hwy290 W, 830/644-2681) hosts Christmas Fireside Chats this Sunday, December 14, noon-5pm. The Belgian Restaurant (3520 Bee Caves Rd., 328-0508) is now open for Champagne Sunday Brunch, 11am-2pm. Doubletree Inn (Hwy290 W & I-35, 454-3737) welcomes the Simi Winery/Domain Chandon representatives for a wine dinner on Wednesday, December 17. A reception with appetizers begins at 6:30pm, followed by a four-course dinner at 7:15pm. Call the Doubletree's Courtyard Cafe to make reservations. The same night, starting at 7pm, Curra's Grill (614 E. Oltorf, 444-0012) will host a traditional Mexican posada, with a piñata, carols, and traditional Mexican holiday foods like buñuelos, tamales, and ponche. Lucero's (6701 Burnet Rd., 450-1006) at the Travis County Farmer's Market is taking tamale orders for the holidays.

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