Food-o-File

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Suppose Air Force One is the first plane to officially land at the (almost complete) Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and you're entertaining President Clinton afterward with a fundraiser in your lovely West Austin home. Which local caterer would you call to assure creativity, quality, and professionalism? Longtime Clinton friend Roy Spence called Word of Mouth Catering (472-9500), of course. Partners Rebecca Wallace and Leslie Moore, and their executive chef Louis Lambert, are still on top. We wonder if Odessa native Lambert served the president some of the tasty West Texas cowboy dishes he contributed to A Cowboy in the Kitchen (TenSpeed Press, $29.95 hard), by Grady Spears and Robb Walsh.


Rumors

Earlier this spring, we began to hear persistent, site-specific rumors that a nationally known Dallas chef was headed for the Austin hotel restaurant market. As the story went, chef/restaurateur/cookbook author/cooking show host Stephan Pyles of Star Canyon and Aquanox in Dallas and Las Vegas was planning a Star Canyon outlet for the Stephen F. Austin Hotel on Congress Avenue. Here's the result of our detective work: The multi-talented Pyles is currently in Las Vegas overseeing the opening of several new restaurants; the second 13-week season of his PBS cooking program New Tastes From Texas began airing in April; and his new line of signature condiments has just been released by Jardine's Foods in Buda. His publicist Barbara Buzzell assured me this week that while Pyles loves Austin and thinks it's a great restaurant market, his Star Concepts outfit has no specific plans for an Austin outlet at this point. Austinites hungry for a taste of Pyles' cooking can catch his show at 3pm Saturday afternoons on KLRU. A segment partially filmed at last summer's Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival airs May 29.


Bocaditos

Manuel's at Great Hills (10201 Jollyville, 345-1042) is celebrating a Fiesta de Primavera with live Latin music on its comfortable tree-shaded patio every Thursday in May, 6-8pm. Show up early for reduced drink prices and half-price appetizers 4-7pm...

Friends who attended the recent Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette, La., brought me a brochure of dynamite Cajun/Creole recipes from the cooking demonstrations offered during the festival by some of Acadiana's best restaurant chefs. I'm eager to try them as it appears a common ingredient in each recipe is Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, known as the secret ingredient to life around here. These same friends promised me a review comparing all the Daquiri Huts in Lafayette, but they must have gotten sidetracked because all I got was this one pamphlet...

When you run into former Chronicle Food editor Robb Walsh, be sure to offer him hearty congratulations. Last week the American Way contributing editor and Natural History columnist was awarded a James Beard Foundation Award in broadcast journalism for a National Public Radio commentary about the popularity of SPAM® in Hawaii.

Walsh's food commentaries can be heard on NPR's Sunday Morning Edition. This is his second Beard award in the past five years.

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