Which Locals Are Those?

The revised and updated edition of the national dining guide titledWhere the Locals Eat (Magellan Press, $19.95 paper) arrived this week. The guide claims to offer reliable restaurant listings in both large and small cities in every state in the nation. The publishers aver that the information in every area was generated by local researches (newspapers, restaurant critics, business people, etc.) and that no restaurants paid to be included in the book. All that sounds great. However, if the mistakes in every city are as egregious as the ones in the Austin listings, I can't see how this book could be particularly useful. Perusal of the Austin listings reveals these errors: Hula Hut is listed as a coffeehouse; Fonda San Miguel appears in the section on all-you-can-eat buffets; Kim Phung supposedly sells Thai food; the former Mustang Diner appears as the best diner in town; and both Chuy's and El Mercado are listed as Southwestern rather than Mexican eateries. Two defunct businesses are included, and no distinction is made between Tex-Mex and Interior Mexican food, something local "experts" should know. I contacted Magellan Press editor Lee J. Wilson about the errors and asked just where she got her information on Austin. She refused to reveal her sources and didn't seem too concerned about the misinformation. She explained that with more than 1,000 cities listed, they couldn't possibly update every city for every edition and pointed out that the book encourages travelers to phone the restaurants for verification of all information. The caveat here: Don't invest $19.95 in something that could be accomplished with a phone book.

Ethnic Culture Bash

The Texas Culture Bash, Austin's premier annual arts party, takes place this Saturday, September 19, 6-9pm, on the grounds of the Austin Museum of Art -- Laguna Gloria (3809 W. 35th). This great celebration benefits Texas Folklife Resources (1317 S. Congress, 441-9255), generating funds to support their new home in south Austin and their programs which preserve Texas' folk arts and folklife. The party menu offers delectable ethnic foods from Europe, India, the Middle East, Latin America, and the southern United States. A mere $40 gets you dinner, drinks, live music, and a silent art auction. Call TFR for info and tickets.


The owners of the 34th Street Cafe (1004 W. 34th, 371-3400) recently dissolved their partnership. Eddie Bernal will continue to operate the popular central city lunch/catering emporium, and former partner Tim Albright has returned to the UT Latin American studies program as an instructor and a doctoral candidate...

Check the newsstands for the fall issue of Simply Seafood magazine for a feature article by Austin's Green Gourmet caterer/ cooking teacher Diana Welsch...

Get your tickets early for the ninth annual La Dolce Vita, the international food and wine tasting festival held Thursday, October 15, 6:30-9pm, on the grounds of AMOA -- Laguna Gloria. The evening features fantastic foods from many of Austin's favorite restaurants, a broad selection of domestic and foreign wines provided by Twin Liquors, live music, and a raffle of luxury items. Proceeds benefit AMOA's exhibitions and programs and the $45 advance tickets sell out fast...

Reserve a seat now to hear national newswoman Linda Ellerbee speak at the Champagne Sunday Brunch benefitting the Breast Cancer Research Center of Austin (472-1710) The brunch is scheduled for 11am, October 4, at the Renaissance Austin Hotel. Reservations are required...

Run, don't walk, to your neighborhood grocery to try the newest Haagen Daz flavor, Dulce de Leche, a caramel ice cream with cajeta. Muy bien sabroso.

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