The state of Texas is busy with culinary contests; Cuisines editor Virginia B. Wood gives the details.

No April Fools Here

While many Austinites celebrate the annual pandemonious potted pork party known as SPAMARAMA™ this weekend, sophisticated food and wine lovers are gathering in Dallas for a more upscale event. The Dallas Morning News Wine & Food Festival takes place March 30-April 3 at the Fairmont Hotel. The Dallas festival includes a series of events including seminars, gala dinners, and awards presented to the winners of the recent Dallas Morning News Wine Competition. Contact 214/741-6884 or to be on next year's mailing list. Meanwhile, a group of talented Texans will be in New York City presenting a genuine Texas-style dinner at the James Beard Foundation House on Saturday, April 1. Chef Tom Perini of Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap won a competition sponsored by the Texas Beef Council at last year's Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival, and his prize was the Beard House presentation. Richard and Bunny Becker, owners of Stonewall's Becker Vineyards, will pour their wines with Perini's authentic Texas ranch cuisine. After the Beard event, both Perini and the Beckers return to Texas for the THCWAFF, April 6-9, at Austin's Four Seasons Hotel.

IACP Convention

As this goes to press, several Austinites including Tom Gilliland, Cathy Cochran-Lewis, Patricia Bauer-Slate, Rebecca Rather, Beth Pav, and myself are in Providence, Rhode Island, at the annual convention of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. We'll be attending seminars, touring Providence's "Little Italy," the Federal Hill neighborhood, enjoying a New England Shore Dinner, and hobnobbing with cookbook authors whose books are nominated for the prestigious IACP Cookbook Awards. More when we return.

Market Openings

Despite the drought conditions, Central Texas' spring crops are beginning to come in and farmer's markets around town are revitalizing. Austin's Historic Farmer's Market (6701 Burnet, 454-1002) has farmers on the weekends and a new restaurant called The Stone House opening soon. Produce maven Pamela Boyar (280-1976) has two market locations opening this week: The Westlake Farmer's Market reopens at 4100 Westbank Drive every Saturday from 10am-1pm and will feature farmers' stalls and other vendors. Look for Boyar's newest market to open in the Threadgill's World Headquaters parking lot (Riverside Drive & Barton Springs Road) on Wednesday afternoon, April 5, from 3-6pm with local organic growers and other vendors. And, as always, the South Austin Farmer's Market is open every Saturday from 9am-1pm in the El Gallo parking lot at 2910 South Congress.


It's a restaurant! Owners Stan and Debbie Adams, chefs Harvey Harris and Brad Yerkes, and General Manager Jay Knepp celebrate the opening of Siena Ristorante Toscana (6203 Capital of Texas Hwy., 349-7667) this week. The lovely stone Tuscan-style villa and the Texas-meets-Toscana menu should be a big hit.

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