The details about how to benefit the Austin Museum of Art while eating, the news on four new restaurants, and what to expect during Texas Wine Month.

The Sweet Life

For the 11th year in a row, the folks at the Austin Museum of Art invite you to enjoy La Dolce Vita, an international food- and wine-tasting event that benefits their exhibitions and educational programs. The party's theme this year is "It Was a Very Good Year," reflecting on 1916, the year that Clara Driscoll built the historic mansion at Laguna Gloria, overlooking Lake Austin. The festivities are scheduled for Thursday, October 12, 6-9pm on the grounds of Laguna Gloria at 3809 W. 35th Street. Participating Texas wineries are Becker Vineyards, Bell Mountain Vineyards, Bruno & George Wines, Inc., Spicewood Vineyards, and Texas Hills Vineyards. Food will be provided by 30 of Austin's top restaurants, bakeries, and caterers. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Jeffrie Gioe at 495-9224x245 or

Lotsa News

Restaurant news is coming in fast and furiously these days. Four popular local restaurants are adding new locations. After years of success on Barton Springs Road, Romeo's has added a new north central location in the strip center at 5800 Burnet Road where you can expect the same hearty Italian food and the same romantic atmosphere you know and love... Maudie's Cafes are taking over the world! In addition to the tiny original West Seventh cafe and their busy Tex-Mex Heaven outlet on South Lamar, Joe Draker and company have added the Pica Cafe (8106 Brodie Lane, 280-6516) to their lineup, as well as a brand-new outlet at 10205 N. Lamar which should be opening Monday, Oct. 2. The new restaurant will feature the same great Maudie's Tex-Mex and margaritas while the Pica Cafe is scheduled to get an expansion makeover and a liquor license in the very near future... The Jeffrey's restaurant group is also adding a new outlet with the opening of O's Campus Cafe in the new Applied Computation and Engineering Sciences (ACES) building on the UT Campus. Jeffrey's executive chef David Garrido plans a light and healthy fusion menu at O's, which will cater to faculty, staff, and student diners... The owners of Saba Blue Water Cafe (204 W. Fourth, 478-7222) have gone all the way to Main Street in downtown Houston to open their new store. Chef Larry Perdido and manager Chuck Smith, co-owners, will be dividing their time between Austin and Houston while the new Saba gets up and running in early October.

Drink Up, Y'all

The local festivities for Texas Wine Month kick off with a wine tasting and celebrity grape-stomp event in a tented area behind the deck at the original Central Market (4000 N. Lamar, 206-1000) on Thursday evening, Oct. 5, 6-9pm. A $10 ticket gets you into the tasting tent where Texas wineries will be pouring wines that won medals at the recent Lone Star State Wine Competition. For more information about Texas Wine Month activities, Wes Marshall will have all the scoop on how to get a passport for the Texas Hill Country Wine Trail in next week's "Liquid Assets."

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