Food-O-File

Vibrio Vulnificus Vanquished

Wise raw oyster lovers have always followed the admonition that the succulent bivalves should only be consumed during months that end in "r," even if they didn't know exactly why. Even after technological advances made it possible to identify the usual culprit, a bacterium that occurs naturally in warm Gulf waters called vibrio vulnificus, it was several more years before some enterprising food scientists developed a process to eliminate that and other life-threatening bacteria. Now, the Louisiana-based AmeriPure Oyster Company (800/348-6729; http://www.ameripure.com) is promoting oysters that have been treated with its revolutionary patented post-harvest process that reduces vibrio and other bacterium to undetectable levels. In the AmeriPure Process®, freshly harvested Gulf oysters are cleaned and graded for size, quickly exposed to hot water, then exposed to ice-cold water, which reduces bacterium to undetectable levels and increases shelf life without compromising their taste or texture. It's an all-natural process that does not use chemicals or irradiation. Company owners debuted their product at the Louisiana Foodservice Exposition in the summer of 1998. They are busy promoting their product and process as the natural savior for the Gulf oyster industry, which was hit with horrible press in recent years due to the outbreaks of illness and death associated with oyster consumption. The voluminous fax about this subject was sent by local food service entrepreneur Doug Foreman, advising us that AmeriPure oysters are available in Austin exclusively at his Old Alligator Grill (3003 S. Lamar, 444-6117). Out of concern for the safety of the product, Foreman had stopped serving raw Gulf oysters altogether until he became aware of the AmeriPure product; now he's an enthusiastic supporter.


FiveStar Rebirth

Westlake's popular FiveStar Bar-B-Que has recently been re-christened FiveStar Bar-B-Que & Grill (3638 Bee Caves, 328-2599) by new owners Susan Provenzano and Alex Duran. The partners have added many favorite grilled menu items from their previous restaurant (the recently closed Good Eats Cafe on Barton Springs Road) to the already well-established FiveStar bill of fare. They've also added a Sunday brunch from 11am-3pm.


Bocaditos

The Texas Wine & Grape Grower Association (817/424-0570) gathers in Austin this weekend for the Fall Harvest Festival and annual meeting at the DoubleTree Austin Hotel (I-35 & Hwy 183). The public is invited to join them Friday night, October 30, 7-10m, for the Uncorking Texas Wine & Food Tasting ($30), with food from fine Austin chefs and wines from some of Texas' best winemakers. The first Harvest Brunch ($40) is Sunday, November 1, noon-2pm, at Spicewood Vineyards (CR 409 off Hwy 71, 830/693-5328). The brunch offers a meal by Austin chefs, vineyard tours, wine tastings, and cooking demonstrations... The Central Market Cooking School (4001 N. Lamar, 458-3068) has some impressive talent scheduled for the next couple of weeks. Pastry chef/author Elinor Klivans will lead a class on bake-and-freeze chocolate desserts Friday, October 30, and demonstrate recipes from her new book, 125 Cookies to Bake, Nibble, and Savor (Broadway, $25 hard) on Saturday afternoon, October 31. Mr. Thanksgiving himself, recipe developer extraordinare Rick Rogers, will show how to prepare a superb holiday meal using recipes from his new book Thanksgiving 101 (Broadway, $19.95 paper) on Tuesday, November 3, and California chef/cookbook author John Ash will present easy techniques for preparing fish and pairing it with wine on Friday, November 6. Call for information and reservations.

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