Did anyone but me notice which Texas authors were missing from the otherwise stellar lineup of the recent Texas Book Festival? The Lone Star State's many talented cookbook authors were nowhere to be seen, and why is a mystery to me. In the past 12 months, one nationally known Texas chef, Stephan Pyles, and another highly motivated home cook, Melissa Guerra, produced cookbooks that are companion volumes to PBS television cooking programs. Herbalist Lucinda Hutson put out the second edition of her definitive work on growing and cooking herbs in the Southwest, and an encyclopedic tome on baking in America by Austin master baker Arthur Meyer hits bookstores this month. Chef David Garrido and co-author Robb Walsh came out with their personal interpretation of Tex-Mex cuisine and Walsh's collaboration with Fort Worth cowboy chef Grady Spears will debut after the first of the year. Longtime local chef Miguel Ravago was the co-author of a collection of Mexican-American immigrant family recipes that won a Julia Child cookbook award last spring. Dallas Morning News Lifestyle editor Dotty Griffith and San Antonio caterer Nancy Wood Moorman both produced books on entertaining Texas style, while children's and cookbook author Angela Shelf Medearis saw her work on African-American entertaining come out in paperback. Considering the number of foodies around the state, I'd wager that events featuring these talented folks would have generated some traffic. Look for reviews of some of these new Texas cookbooks in our holiday gift issue.
After we ran a list of Austin's working female chefs this summer, I received several calls about women we'd overlooked. By far the most moving came from Tom Abdenour, owner of Tom's Tabooley. His description of his wife Brigid as the heart and soul, let alone chef, of their family business was a touching tribute. Although I'd been a fan of their top-notch Mediterranean food products for years, I'd never actually met them and Abdenour's impassioned call piqued my interest. I met Brigid Abdenour at an IACP reception at Central Market, and we made plans to discuss their newest business venture once it opened. Tom's Tabooley Coffee & Carry Out (2928 Guadalupe,
479-7337) debuted this month and Tom's right: She's a great cook. The menu at the new take-out shop features their signature hand-rolled dolmas and creamy hummus in a variety of flavors, some traditional and others spiked with chile peppers for Austin palates. They also offer fresh, light falafels, wonderful, flaky spanikopita, and baklava. Many items are grouped together on sampler plates that make dynamite lunches. There will be hot soups during the winter, plus coffee, espresso, and Italian sodas handmade at the restored antique soda fountain. They're open for breakfast and lunch with very limited seating so think drop in and take out.
After years of 70-hour weeks, chef Kathryn Mathis is leaving The Bitter End (311 Colorado, 478-2337) for a flexible schedule at Heart of Texas Produce (1305 E. Sixth, 479-8771) that will allow her to participate in more AIDS bike rides and cater the occasional private dinner party. No word yet on her replacement... Elba Restaurant Group has signed a lease on the former Sfuzzi space (311 W. Sixth). Look for their chic, upscale French seafood restaurant, Sardine Rouge, to open after the first of the year... Alan Lazarus has welcomed sous-chef Chris Shirley to the very busy Vespaio (1610 S. Congress, 441-6100) kitchen.
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