When Caterers Party

Ever wondered what the decorations and food are like when accomplished caterers throw a party for themselves? One answer to that question was revealed last week when Carol Buchanan, co-owner of Assorted Affairs (472-3436), threw a big 50th birthday bash for her longtime business partner Sherry Smith in the backyard of her West Austin home. Assorted Affairs is known for its well-planned weddings and theme parties with custom decorations. This soiree was no exception. Candles and twinkling lanterns lit the tree-shaded patio where the caterers' dogs strolled in pink tutus and gold lamé collars. The buffet included a Cajun shrimp boil, grilled pork tenderloin with habanero-mango mint pico and Jamaican jerk sauces, and a Brie topped with Austin Slow-Burn Rosemary Habanero Jelly from culinary entrepreneur Tommy Stone, an olive focaccia from Chef-at-Large John Shanks, pâtés and spreads with assorted artisan breads, Greek salad, and an exotic cheese board from Buchanan herself, kiwi and strawberry fruit tarts from the kitchen of La Madeleine, and a Chocolate Mousse Tart from Dallasite Suzy Stauss. South Austin carpenter Dave Dixon summed up the situation this way: "Caterers give the best parties. Never turn down an invitation to a caterer's party, man." Amen to that.

Remember Mom

This Sunday will probably be the biggest dining-out occasion all year long. No one actually expects Mom to fix lunch on Mother's Day, now do they? So get on the phone and make those reservations now! You're in luck because there are brunch buffets everywhere from The Four Seasons (98 San Jacinto, 478-4500) at $30 to JAVA Noodles (2400
E. Oltorf, 443-5282) at $5.95, with numerous different cuisines and prices in between. The last year that my family was all together for Mother's Day, our mother requested a visit to Green Pastures (811 W. Live Oak, 444-1888). It made for a lovely day sipping milk punch and listening to music from the grand piano in an atmosphere of genuine Southern hospitality. A new Mother's Day celebration that looks promising is the Classical Wildflower & Wine Festival at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (4801 La Cross Ave) on Sunday, May 8, from 3-6pm. The festival will include a silent auction, a wine tasting, and a recital of classical music by members of the Austin Chamber Music Society. The wine and music will be complemented by an array of breads and cheeses from Randalls. Tickets are $20 per person and $35 per couple (children get in free with their parents). This first-year event is a joint venture between Twin Liquors, KMFA 89.5, Randalls, and the Wildflower Center. You can call 476-5632 for tickets or pick them up at any of the five Twin Liquors locations.


Two long-awaited new eateries have finally emerged from the City of Austin's elaborate building permit process and are now in the construction phase. Chef Alan Lazarus is currently hard at work on his new Trattoria Congresso on South Congress Avenue, and the Bertram's Group is actively proceeding with work on its new tapas bar, Malaga, on West Fourth Street. Summer openings are planned for both restaurants... A couple of former Central Market employees, Kevin Williamson and Sharon Gearhart, are moving toward a deal that could put them in a West Austin restaurant location, but the plans have yet to be finalized... Details are sketchy about the recent quiet demise of Sfuzzi, and there's no definite word on who will take over one of Austin's longest established restaurant spaces at 311 W. Sixth St. Several calls to building owner Robert Ehrlich went unreturned last week.

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