Food-o-File


Farm Life

After they worked through a scorching drought, a killer flood, and a pre-Christmas ice storm, who could blame Central Texas farmers if they all wanted to cash in and hightail it to Mexico? Most of our favorite farmers survived 1998 intact, but crop depletion and winter weather have caused a scarcity of local produce at the moment. Both the Historic Austin Farmer's Market (6701 Burnet, 454-1002) and the Westlake Farmer's Market (Westlake High School parking lot, 280-1976) are currently without produce vendors. Market Master Hill Rylander reminds everyone that the restaurants, bakeries, and stores at the Burnet Road facility are all open for business andsays local farmers will return in the spring. Pamela Boyar reports that her Westlake market will reopen the first weekend in April and also says she has the city interested in a deal that would create a weekly farmer's market in the downtown area. We'll keep you posted. Boggy Creek farmers Larry Butler and Carol Ann Sayle spent this week planting thousands of onions, but they also have a hot product that is completely weatherproof. Their audiotape titled Letters From the Farm has been getting good airplay from John Dromgoole and KUT's John Aielli, which should boost tape sales. Speaking of John Dromgoole, check out the new issue of Organic Gardening magazine in which the Gardenville owner is one of their regional expert correspondents.


Will Travel for Food

Lane Orsak, marketing manager for Manuel's (310 Congress, 472-7555; 10201 Jollyville, 345-1042) recently regaled us with tales of his Yuletide trip to Australia, complete with a credible rendition of an Aussie dialect. Orsak spent a quiet, noncommercial Christmas with friends Down Under, dining in such places as Sydney's internationally famous Rock Pool restaurant, sampling luscious Pinot Noirs from New Zealand and aged cheeses from Tasmania. He enjoyed the unique Australian red champagne that derives its rosy hue from Shiraz grapes. He raved about all the wonderful Australian wines, especially the Shiraz varietals, and assured us that the Aussies keep the best wine at home, sending us the "Budweiser" of their output.


Bocaditos

After seeing something in a recent Chronicle story about one of our writers looking for her restaurant, Mi Rey owner Doris Cruz e-mailed to let us know that she's still in business in a new location: 1505 E. Seventh, 476-4211...

Restaurateur Carmelo Mauro and award-winning Texas winemaker Paul Bonarrigo of Messina Hof Vineyards are two gentlemen from Sicily who will team up to present a wine dinner at Carmelo's restaurant on Tuesday, January 26, at 7pm...

The Brick Oven Restaurant (11200 Lakeline Mall, 335-5445) probably has the market cornered on wine dinners in far north Austin. General manager Bryan Puckett reports that the restaurant has lined up Sebastiani Cellars for a dinner on Thursday, January 28, Messina Hof for one in February, and Castello Banfi for one in March. Check with Puckett for more details...

Dallas food journalists Barbara Gollman and Kim Pierce will present a cooking demonstration and sign copies of their new work The Phytopia Cookbook (IPG, $17.95 paper) at BookPeople on Friday, January 22 at 7pm. Certified macrobiotic cook Fran Moody reviews the new book in this week's "Cuisines" section...

Apologies to wine buyer Chuck Huffaker for changing his name in our story about the greatly anticipated Grapevine Market. And we're sorry for getting your hopes up over the opening of the new Westgate Central Market; the opening has been delayed until sometime in March.

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