Food-O-File

On my recent trips down Manor Road to check out Calabash Cafe, I noticed a very diverse group of eateries popping up in older homes and commercial buildings along that East Austin thoroughfare, forming another "restaurant row." As you head east, the first stop would be Manor Road Coffee House/Roscoe's Italian Kitchen at Manor Road (1809 Manor Rd., 474-2505, 457-0006), a very interesting new joint venture. Bambi's two-year-old coffeehouse will continue to offer live music and coffee drinks while Glen Taylor, partner in the popular lake-area Roscoe's, will serve up a mouth-watering Italian menu of pizzas, antipasto, desserts, pastas, entrées, and sandwiches for dining in or take-out. He plans to add delivery service soon. Those of us who fell in love with Roscoe's great Italian subs at Lake Travis last summer are pleased their food is available closer to home. Next on the row is Calabash Cafe (2015 Manor Rd., 478-4857), the next best thing in Austin to a Caribbean vacation. Across the driveway from Calabash, construction is progressing on a new spot called Miranda's Patio (2021 Manor Rd., 236-1676), which looks to be a taco shack with some outdoor seating. The 10-year-old East Side Cafe (2113 Manor Rd., 476-5858) could be called the "anchor tenant" in this configuration, with a huge loyal clientele. East Side, famous for its large organic garden under the loving care of David Kolasta, has added a charming retail store, Pitchforks & Tablespoons (494-1464), to sell gifts, cookbooks, T-shirts, and garden tools. Just east of there, you'll find Mi Madre's (2201 Manor Rd., 480-8441), a small Mexican family restaurant renowned for its tasty breakfast tacos and other Tex-Mex fare. The newest potential tenant in this area is longtime Austin restaurant professional Hoover Alexander, who plans to open Hoover's Restaurant in a section of the former Discovery Incubator (2010 Manor Rd.). If all goes according to plan, Alexander should be serving his personal brand of home-style Texas cooking sometime in February.

The most intriguing two-fer to come along in a while is The Parlour (1234 S. Lamar, 326-1234). Owner Michele Hart's promotional flier touts the sale of "armoires and apple pies, Chippendale and cheesecakes." She receives deliveries of delicious whole gourmet pies, cheesecakes, and quiches every Tuesday and Friday from companies such as Wimberley Pie and the Texas Pie Company. Complicated city regulations prevent sale by the slice, but Hart's growing clientele happily purchase whole ones. The day we spoke, the clever entrepreneur was negotiating with Pflugerville's Pam Made Pies to bring their popular product to the Parlour, as well.

Homegrown Mexican restaurant chain Serrano's celebrates its 10th anniversary with the addition of four new chile relleños to the menus at all nine area locations. Each dish is made with a flash-fried and peeled poblano pepper in a fluffy egg white batter. The cheese relleño is filled with Monterey Jack cheese and topped with a vegetarian tomato sauce, the relleño del mar has a mixture of shrimp and sauteed vegetables under a white wine poblano cream sauce, the pollo relleño offers a spicy chicken mixture napped with a tangy tomatillo salsa, and the beef filling is paired with ranchero sauce. Bien sabroso.

The Sustainable Food Center (434 Bastrop Hwy, 385-0080) is a nonprofit organization promoting sustainable food options in East Austin. The center is looking for a bilingual cooking teacher to direct the successful Cocina Allegre cooking school program which offers instruction in the preparation of nutritious, cost-effective meals to groups that request classes. The new director would be responsible for curriculum development, teaching, working cooperatively with the center's organic demonstration farm, helping to develop value-added products with the farm's produce, and some community fundraising. Contact executive director Kate Fitzgerald.

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