Not to Get on a Rant, But...

The May issue of Food Arts magazine arrived last week and I've had a bug up... uh, I mean a bee in my bonnet ever since. This issue boasts three articles about Texas. First is an informative piece about the great Beef 101 class for chefs, food journalists, and food service professionals offered at Texas A&M. Then there's a very interesting story about the customized computer software used by Dallas chefs Kevin Rathbun and George Brown to track food costs and inventory control. But then there's a piece on chain operations moving into upscale markets, where the editors provide editorial space to Mark Miller to bash Austin and to assign blame for the demise of the local Coyote Cafe (612 W. Sixth) outlet to the opening of Sullivan's (300 Colorado, 495-6504). According to Miller's latest whine, he was edged out of the Austin market because he only had $600,000 to invest in Coyote and the Lone Star chain spent millions positioning Sullivan's here. "If a chain had opened serving similar food across the street from Chez Panisseback in 1972," Miller asks, "where do you think Alice Waters would be today?" I don't know for sure, but I doubt that she'd be shooting off her mouth in national magazines, blaming other people for her mistakes. Let's invite the editors of Food Arts to visit Austin and see how several thriving local independent restaurant operations co-exist beautifully with Sullivan's. It's a shame to allow Miller to define the Austin restaurant market in national publications any longer.

Foodie Movies

Tim and Carrie League of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (409 Colorado, 867-1839) will celebrate the theatre's first anniversary on Thursday, May 28, with a showing of director Alfonso Arau's romantic film, Like Water for Chocolate, based on the novel by Laura Esquivel. Complementing the film will be a Mexican menu adapted from the book. The menu includes the lovely Quails in Rose Sauce and Chile Rellenos en Nogada. Tickets are available for $25 at the theatre box office. Seating will be limited to 150 people. . .
On Saturday, May 30, Jean-Luc's French Bistro (705 Colorado, 494-0033) will present the 11-course first class menu from the last night of the Titanic, with a string quartet playing period music for dancing. Seating will be limited to 50 people. Period costumes are optional, but reservations are required.

Travel Advisory

Longtime Chronicle contributor Patrick Earvolino has been named an associate editor at Cooking Light magazine and departs Austin for Birmingham, Alabama this week. It's a great career opportunity for Pat; we wish him much success... At the end of May, Jim Murphy, co-owner of Sweetish Hill Bakery (1120 W. Sixth, 472-1347; 922 Congress, 477-2441) will attend the American Hearth Bread Baking Conference at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone campus in St. Helena, California. Top artisan bakers, baking instructors, oven builders, and flour millers will present seminars.


Westlake Farmer's Market promotes local cookbook authors. Chef David Garrido will sign copies of Nuevo Tex-Mex (Chronicle Books, $19.95 paper) on Saturday, May 23, 10am-noon, and chef Miguel Ravago will sign copies of Cocina de la Familia (Simon & Schuster, $30 hard) on Saturday, May 30, 10am-noon... If you're headed to the coast for the Memorial Day weekend, check out the Rockport Festival of Wines on Saturday, May 23, 4-10pm, on the grounds of the Texas Maritime Museum. Wines from California, the Pacific Northwest, Argentina, Chile, and Texas will be featured. Call 800/242-0071 for info.

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